Use Of Breath Tests Suspended Once Again In Massachusetts
Earlier this week, a Salem district court judge has ordered the complete exclusion of breath tests from Operating Under the Influence prosecutions all across the Bay State.
WWLP/News 22 in Springfield reports Judge Robert Brennan's ruling is all part of Massachusetts' current breath test litigation. Basically, this ruling means that literally thousands of drunk driving cases in the state could be affected.
The whole affair began back in 2015 after several District Attorney's in Massachusetts suspended the use of breath tests as evidence after a discovery was made. The breathalyzers that were being used to perform breath tests, the Draeger Alcotest 9510, had failed annual inspections and there was a chance they were not properly calibrated.
Bottom line, Brennan's ruling means that if you or someone you know has to go to court in the near future on an OUI charge, and the only evidence against you or them is a breathalyzer result, the case will very likely get thrown out of court.
As a part of his ruling, Brennan wrote:
Breathalyzer results undeniably are among the most incriminating and powerful pieces of evidence in prosecutions. Their improper inclusion in criminal cases not only unfairly impacts individual defendants, but also undermines public confidence in the criminal justice system.
A Springfield attorney, Joseph Bernard, has been waging a battle for years against breath test machines and their fallibility. Bernard believes that, until the whole breathalyzer machine problem is sorted out, courts should rely on field sobriety checks instead of breath test results.
For more on the story, visit WWLP's website here.