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Tag Archives: breathalyzer

MISCONDUCT AT MASSACHUSETTS STATE POLICE LAB RESPONSIBLE FOR BREATH TEST MACHINES

Mounting problems at the Executive Office of Alcohol Testing (“OAT”), the Massachusetts State Police crime lab responsible for the use of the Dräger Alcotest 9510 breath test machines, have triggered the firing of Melissa O’Meara, head of the OAT. A report disclosed Monday found that “OAT leadership made serious errors of judgment in its responses to court-ordered discovery, errors which were enabled by a longstanding and insular institutional culture that was reflexively guarded . . . and which was inattentive ... Read More »

STATE POLICE CRIME LAB WITHHELD EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE

The Massachusetts State Police Office of Alcohol Testing (“OAT”) intentionally withheld documents showing breath test machines may have provided at least hundreds of flawed results, according to defense attorneys. This latest revelation could ultimately affect over 58,000 cases since 2011, when the Commonwealth first began using the Dräger 9510 machines. As a result, District Attorneys throughout the Commonwealth have again suspended the use of breath test results in trials and plea negotiations. Furthermore, the Secretary for the Executive Office of ... Read More »

To Blow or Not to Blow: Tennessee’s 2017 Implied Consent Law – Part 2

This is the second in a series of blog posts about recent changes to Tennessee’s Implied Consent Law.  If you missed Part 1, you may read it here: “To Blow or Not to Blow: Tennessee’s 2017 Implied Consent Law –  Part 1.” As discussed in Part 1, effective July 1, 2017, Tennessee made sweeping changes to its Implied Consent Law in an apparent attempt to comply with the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Birchfield v. North Dakota, 136 S.Ct. 2160 ... Read More »

To Blow or Not To Blow: Tennessee’s 2017 Implied Consent Law – Part 1

Effective July 1, 2017, Tennessee is making sweeping changes to its Implied Consent Law[1] in an apparent attempt to comply with the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Birchfield v. North Dakota, 136 S.Ct. 2160 (2016).  The Implied Consent Law and the Birchfield decision both address legal issues surrounding chemical tests to determine the alcohol and/or drug content in a person’s system. Specifically, they deal with the question of when and under what circumstances a blood or breath test may be ... Read More »

GROUNDWORK SET FOR ADDITIONAL CHALLENGES TO DRAEGER ALCOTEST 9510 BREATH TEST MACHINES IN MASSACHUSETTS

The recent decision by Massachusetts district court judge Robert Brennan regarding Draeger Alcotest 9510 breath test machines in Massachusetts laid the groundwork for more wide-ranging challenges to the devices. Brennan’s decision is a win for defendants whose breath test results are from 9510 devices that were last calibrated before the state police Office of Alcohol Testing (“OAT”) established written protocols regarding annual calibration on September 14, 2014. In his decision, Judge Brennan noted that “in the absence of written protocols, ... Read More »

Will .05% Become the New National Legal Limit?

On March 8, 2017, Utah lawmakers passed legislation to lower the legal limit for a driver’s blood alcohol level to 0.05%.[1] On March 23, 2017, Utah’s governor Gary Herbert signed the bill into law, making Utah’s DUI threshold the lowest in the nation.  The lowered blood alcohol limit will take effect in the state on December 30, 2018—just before New Year’s Eve.[2] This is a distinct and separate law from Driving While Impaired or Driving Under the Influence. Accordingly, even if the ... Read More »

DECISION ON SCIENTIFIC RELIABILITY OF DRAGER 9510 IN MASSACHUSETTS

After hearing testimony over ten days, Judge Brennan of the Massachusetts district court department issued his decision regarding the defense bar’s challenge to the scientific reliability of the Draeger Alcotest 9510 breathalyzer, first deployed in Massachusetts in June 2012. The defense bar’s motion to exclude breath test results from the 9510 machines as evidence against defendants was allowed in part and denied in part. The court determined that the scope of its inquiry should include: 1) whether the source code ... Read More »

CLOSING ARGUMENTS AT MASSACHUSETTS HEARING CHALLENGING RELIABILITY OF DRAEGER ALCOTEST 9510 BREATH TEST MACHINES

The hearing regarding the scientific reliability of the Draeger Alcotest 9510 breath test machines concluded with closing arguments on Friday, February 3. The defense bar argued that because the relevant statute states that simply driving with a .08 blood alcohol concentration, as measured by the 9510 machine, is enough for a conviction, regardless of the tolerance an individual driver may have or any effect on their driving, the reliability of the machines should be subject to the highest scrutiny. The ... Read More »

MORE PROBLEMS WITH DRAEGER ALCOTEST 9510 BREATH TEST MACHINES IN MASSACHUSETTS

On Friday, February 3, the final day of hearings regarding the scientific reliability of the Draeger Alcotest 9510 breath test machines, a representative from Draeger testified that a previously unknown error appears to have been caused because the machines were programmed to use an incorrect value during performance checks and calibration. The 9510 machines use two sensors to measure blood alcohol: An infrared sensor, as required by statute, and an electro-chemical fuel cell. During calibration, the measurements of the two ... Read More »

UPDATE ON DRAEGER LITIGATION

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently modified the scheduling order set by the District Court Department regarding the defense bar’s challenge to the scientific reliability of the Draeger Alcotest 9510 breath test machines. Justice Botsford, citing the complex nature of the matter, extended the litigation into next year. The modified schedule allows the defense bar more time to examine the machines and for all parties to produce and review expert opinions. Pursuant to the modified schedule, the defense bar must ... Read More »