Thousands of drunk driving convictions could be thrown out because of questions about breathalyzer tests.
More than 36,000 breathalyzer tests could be called into question as evidence for OUI cases. The agreement came after several lawyers across the state, including one in Springfield, questioned the results of Draeger 9510 breathalyzers.
A 2017 court order prevented breath tests on these machines from being used as evidence in OUI cases from June 2011 to September of 2014. This week Massachusetts district attorneys agreed with defense lawyers to extend that window until August of 2017.
Lawyers said the state Office of Alcohol Testing, initially withheld information about failed calibration tests on some of these breathalyzers.
“The district attorney’s offices have entered into an agreement that I think first and foremost to the extent that we can contemplates public safety and our responsibility to protect public safety, but also considers the fact that there are some serious issues with breathalyzer machines,” Hampden County DA Anthony Gulluni told 22News.
The DA’s want to exclude the breath tests as evidence up until August of 2017, and the defense attorneys want their use excluded until the O.A.T. receives accreditation.
Under the agreement, the office of alcohol testing will need to apply for national accreditation, which it does not currently have, by August of 2019.
Under the agreement, the DA’s will still be able to try and establish the credibility of the breathalyzers in OUI cases that resulted in a death or serious injury, or was a fifth OUI offense.