According to CBS News Boston, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court found misconduct in breathalyzer tests performed between June 1, 2011, and April 18, 2019. This means that many trials were unfairly closed based on faulty evidence. If you or a loved one pled guilty to driving under the influence (DUI), you may have an opportunity to have your plea withdrawn or request a new trial.
Our attorneys serving Massachusetts can help you and your family seek justice if you were affected by faulty breathalyzer test results. We understand the emotional and financial impact an incorrect ruling can have on your life. Our team will listen to your story and guide you through the legal process.
Breathalyzer Malperformance and a State Cover-Up May Allow You to Reopen Your Case
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling in April 2023 affects 27,000 cases. In 2019, the state began an investigation that uncovered issues with the calibration of certain breathalyzer testing machines. Although not every test produced faulty results, investigators found that some state officials were aware of the widespread breathalyzer issues and even attempted to cover up the problem.
What does this mean for you? If you pled guilty or were convicted of a DUI between 2011 and 2019, you might be able to withdraw your guilty plea or request a new trial. Per WCVB, all breathalyzer test results recorded within this eight-year time frame will now be excluded from criminal prosecutions. This could significantly weaken the cases that prosecutors have against North Carolina DUI defendants.
Which Breathalyzer Machines Were Faulty?
According to Mass.gov, the Draeger Alcotest 9510 breathalyzer machine was found scientifically unreliable for determining blood alcohol concentration (BAC). You may not know what type of machine was used for your breath test, but you should receive a notice from the court if you were affected by improper test results.
A lawyer from our firm can also investigate your case to find out the type of breathalyzer that was used to test your BAC.
Some Massachusetts Attorneys Have Been Skeptical About Breathalyzer Test Results
Although the ruling against this machine’s test results is recent, the breathalyzer controversy has been a concern in Massachusetts for several years. Many prosecutors stopped using breathalyzer results in 2021 because of concerns over test reliability.
According to WBUR, it’s been a long time coming for the Supreme Judicial Court breathalyzer ruling. The Massachusetts Office of Alcohol testing has been scrutinized for years because “uncertified operators” were left to inspect the machines. Some lawyers also questioned the reliability of test result reporting to the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
The Office of Alcohol Testing Has Plans to Improve Operations Going Forward
Dace Procopio of the Massachusetts State Police says, “The Office of Alcohol Testing in recent years has implemented significant operational improvements to ensure that breathalyzer certification, case management, discovery processes, and employee training are in accordance with all applicable laws and established forensic best practices.”
Some of the improvements the Office of Alcohol Testing (OAT) has already started implementing include:
- The OAT received full accreditation from the American National Standards Institute-American Society for Quality’s National Accreditation Board in 2019, and it was reaccredited in 2022.
- The OAT hired an Office of Alcohol Testing Ombudsman. This person notifies the legal community of any issues with the discovery process and works closely with prosecutors and defense attorneys.
- The Massachusetts District Attorneys’ Association trained members of the OAT on breathalyzer use.
- They are actively making improvements to the discovery process.
You Can Hire a Lawyer if Your Case Was Affected by the Breathalyzer Ruling
Although the breathalyzer ruling does not mean your case will be immediately dropped, you might have another chance at justice. If you think your case was affected by the breathalyzer ruling in Massachusetts, a lawyer from our firm is ready to work with you. We can help you by:
- Determining whether your case qualifies for reconsideration under the new ruling
- Reviewing any evidence in your case that can be used to prove you were not under the influence at the time of your arrest
- Representing you in trial or any other court appearances
- Speaking to witnesses and preparing them to speak during your trial, if necessary
- Completing any forms necessary for your case and submitting them on time
- Explaining any other laws that apply to your case
- Answering any questions you have and guiding you through the legal process
- Assisting you in Spanish, Arabic, Creole, Greek, Portuguese, Russian, and Turkish
This new ruling can be difficult to interpret on your own. Our team is here for you when you need us, and we’re happy to answer any questions you have.
What Should I Do in the Aftermath of the Breathalyzer Findings?
You have options if you pled guilty or were convicted of a DUI in Massachusetts. Still, that doesn’t automatically mean the state will reverse its decision. Some considerations that could secure a positive outcome in your case include:
- Refraining from criminal activity. You want your case to assert that you either didn’t do anything wrong or don’t deserve the penalties you face. By refraining from activities that could land you in hot water, you promote your future.
- Thinking twice about any plea deals. Without a breathalyzer’s test results, the prosecution may offer a plea deal where you face fewer penalties. Yet, you could argue for a “not guilty” verdict or a dismissal of your charges, resulting in no jail time or fines.
- Reaching out to our legal team. Our firm prioritizes justice above all else. With us on your side, we ensure that the court system treats you fairly.
Contact GED Lawyers to Discuss the MA Breathalyzer Ruling
Your trial might not have been fair if the verdict rested on faulty breathalyzer evidence. Luckily, you may have options to seek justice based on the recent breathalyzer ruling in Massachusetts.
If you were one of the 27,000 cases impacted by the Draeger Alcotest 9510 breathalyzer machine, our team is here to help you seek justice. You can call us at any time to discuss your case and learn more about how we can help you.