Faulty Breathalyzer Machines Being Challenged

If you were recently arrested in Massachusetts for drunk driving and blew into a breathalyzer you should hold off on resolving your case.

In October of 2012 the Massachusetts Office of Alcohol Testing authorized the use of a Dreager Alcotest 9510 breathalyzer for use by Massachusetts police departments. Breathalyzers are complicated machines. They attempt to calculate the level of alcohol in a person’s deep lung air by blowing into a breathalyzer machine. The machine provides a reading.  It is accepted as a true measurement. Recently, the computer programs used by the breathalyzer machines to make these calculations have come under fire.

There is now before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court the cases of Commonwealth vs. Figueroa and Commonwealth vs. Ananias. These individuals, as well as hundreds of others, have asked the prosecutors in their cases to prove the reliability of the machine before it’s reading is accepted. The Court has ordered prosecutors to provide copies of computer source code, as well as actual breathalyzer machines. This information allows for independent testing. A full hearing on the reliability of the machine is scheduled for January of 2017. Eventually, the court will rule whether Alcotest 9510 test readings are admissible in drunk driving cases.

Drunk driving arrests occur in many different circumstance. If your case involves the use of an Alcotest 9510 machine, and you feel the results seemed unusually high, it is best to have your case put on hold [“stayed” ] until a final determination is made.

This post is not meant to be a substitute for specific legal advice given by a competent attorney who is familiar with OUI law and the facts of your specific case. If you are currently facing prosecution for an OUI offense you should discussed this matter with your attorney before proceeding any further.

For further information about breathalyzers and OUI  in Massachusetts.