SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Hampden District Attorney’s Office will resume using breathalyzer results as evidence in cases where persons are charged with the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
In a news release sent to 22News from James Leydon, spokesperson for the Hampden DA, using the test results will be up to the discretion of prosecutors beginning July 1st.
Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni had voluntarily suspended use of breathalyzer results in OUI prosecutions in 2019 after it was discovered that the Massachusetts Office of Alcohol Testing (OAT) had been withholding information from defense attorneys in OUI cases. Defense attorneys say some of those documents showed breathalyzer machines had failed annual inspections, and may not have been properly calibrated.
As a result, prosecutors state wide agreed to not use evidence from breath tests in court cases between 2011 and 2017. In 2021 Boston District Court Judge Robert Brennan ordered the exclusion of breathalyzer tests as evidence. He also ordered that defendants in drunk driving convictions be notified that they can return to court and request that their conviction be overturned in the appropriate circumstances.
Brennan ruled in January of this year that results from the Draeger Alcotest 9510 breathalyzers can be used as evidence in OUI cases again.
DA Gulluni believes that the issues at OAT have been addressed and that breathalyzer test results are reliable for use in cases moving forward.