Will “unreliable” breathalyzer results help convicted drunk drivers?

Recent court ruling deemed certain breathalyzer results unreliable

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A judge ruled a Drager machine hadn’t been properly calibrated or tested in Massachusetts between June of 2012 and September of 2014.

“We don’t find the decision to really be that earth shattering,” said Northwestern First Assistant District Attorney Steven Gagne. “A large portion of the cases prosecuted previously may not have relied on breathalyzers anyway. There’s still sufficient evidence to prove someone guilty without that result.”

Related: Breathalyzer results deemed unreliable, thousands of cases impacted

However, Springfield Defense Attorney Joseph Bernard has a different opinion; “It could have enormous ramifications…That’s going to be very, very difficult for them to do because the conviction was based on results that are now being claimed unreliable.”

Attorney Bernard said he believes up to 20,000 cases could be impacted. He recommends anyone convicted of drunk driving during that time period, based on breathalyzer results, talk to their lawyer.

If you do appeal your OUI conviction, ADA Gagne said prosecutors would have the chance to prove why they believe the device was reliable, and use other evidence. He said just because the machine wasn’t properly “tested” doesn’t necessarily mean it was wrong.