District Attorneys suspend use of breath test results in court cases


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – First on 22News, District Attorneys across the state are instructing prosecutors to temporarily stop using breath tests as evidence in O.U.I. cases.

It involves the reliability of Draeger Breathalyzer machines. They’re used by police across the state and need to be tested or calibrated once a year.

The Office of Alcohol Testing is being accused of withholding more than 400 documents that could prove that many of these machines were not calibrated correctly.

Attorney Joseph Bernard has been working on this case and told 22News that more than 58,000 O.U.I. cases could be impacted.

“Citizens from 2011 to the present think about this, had their breath tests taken and either put in jail, losses of license, went to trial, pleaded guilty and never knew that there was flawed problems with the calibrations,” Attorney Bernard said.

The Office of Alcohol Testing originally handed over just 11 failed tests out of 1,972 calibration worksheets. When Attorney Bernard received the 431 missing worksheets, 419 of those showed failed attempts to calibrate the breathalyzers.

Attorney Bernard told the I-Team that any case associated with these missing documents should be dismissed. For the time being, DA’s won’t be using breath tests as evidence in court.

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