Thousands of convicted drunk drivers in Massachusetts may find their cases thrown out. According to 22News, this stemmed from questioning the accuracy of over 36,000 breathalyzer tests originally submitted as evidence. This could make them inadmissible for use in OUI cases, including those already successfully tried.
In 2017, a court order invalidated breathalyzer test results as evidence in OUI cases for a window of more than three years. This began in June 2011 and ended in September 2014. However, district attorneys have now agreed to extend that timeframe to August 2017.
Failed calibration tests on some of the breathalyzers are at the heart of their questioned validity. This could have resulted in false positives. Convictions that were based on the evidence provided by the breathalyzers could therefore mean that many people in Massachusetts were wrongly convicted. Under this new agreement, the office of alcohol testing has until August of this year to apply for accreditation.
Breathalyzers used by the police force are not the only ones whose accuracy is being questioned. According to ABC, police officers are now cautioning people against relying on personal breathalyzers to determine if they are fit to drive. There are, however, other police officers who welcome the use of breathalyzers to normalize the act of checking blood alcohol content before getting behind the wheel.
A much better course of action is that people who believe they may be impaired should refrain from getting behind the wheel at all cost. With so many transportation options available, such as Uber and Lyft, drunk driving is an especially unnecessary hazard. After all, if a personal breathalyzer warns someone that they are over the legal limit and their judgment is already impaired, what guarantee is there that they will refrain from driving?