Breathalyzer Tests Suspended in MA Courts Pending Reforms
In 2018, the state’s district attorneys had agreed to toss out evidence from tens of thousands of drunken driving cases after the lack of reliable standards by the Office of Alcohol Testing jeopardized the validity of Breathalyzer test results.
According to The Republican, the trickle down effect of that lead District Court Judge Robert Brennan ruling that no Breathalyzer tests administered in Massachusetts can be used in court, until the state’s Office of Alcohol Testing undergoes major reforms. The decision comes after years of back and forth in court over the reliability of the Breathalyzer test that is used in Massachusetts, Alcotest 9150.
Perhaps the final straw leading to the judges decision was during the course of the litigation when it was discovered that the Office of Alcohol Testing intentionally withheld important evidence from defense lawyers. A judge ordered the OAT to provide all calibration paperwork, but state officials intentionally withheld 432 worksheets that showed failed calibrations.
The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security conducted an internal investigation of OAT in 2017, the results of which identified numerous instances of intentional withholding of evidence, blatant disregard of court orders and other errors and inconsistencies.
So, when will the test results of Breathalyzers be accepted as evidence in court again? Well, Brennan's ruling says that the Office of Alcohol Testing test results will not be permissible in court until it proves that its methodology will produce scientifically accurate results.