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What is Going on with Breathalyzers in Massachusetts?

Most prosecutors in Massachusetts have stopped using breathalyzer tests as evidence in all OUI cases. This is due to the growing concerns about the reliability of these devices. This decision was made after an OUI attorney alleged that the Massachusetts Office of Alcohol Testing, which is in charge of checking the calibration and reliability of breathalyzers, relied on uncertified operators to examine the devices.

The Administration of Massachusetts’s Position

Additionally, the defense attorney also questioned how the devices were cleaned and how the test results were reported to the state Registry of Motor Vehicles.Even with the ongoing scrutiny about the unreliability of breathalyzer tests, Governor Charlie Baker’s administration still insists that the devices are reliable and the tests are accurate. In fact, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security has gone ahead to write to the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association claiming that only 38 of the 8,000 breathalyzer operators weren’t properly certified as per the rules and regulations.

What’s Next for OUI Cases?

Even with the reassurance from the governor’s office and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, most of the district attorneys have suspended the use of a breathalyzer for OUI cases. Generally, this has made it very difficult to prosecute people in Massachusetts for driving under the influence.

Therefore, without the use of breathalyzers, this means that prosecutors must only depend on testimony from the police or witnesses or field sobriety tests in order to charge someone with OUI. Up to date, at least seven of Massachusetts 11 district attorneys have completely stopped using breathalyzer tests in OUI cases.

On the other hand, the remaining district attorneys have vowed to limit or scrutinize the use of breathalyzer tests for OUI cases. The ongoing scrutiny has also led to the exclusion of all the breathalyzer tests that were used for the OUI cases between June 2011 and April 18, 2019. This basically means that all the drivers who were convicted in that period can seek new trials.

Summing Up

Are you looking for an OUI attorney to represent you in Massachusetts? Contact the Law Office of Mathew W. Peterson today and let us work closely with you to ensure that you get justice.


Although I am an attorney, I am not your attorney.  Please do not rely on anything on this page as legal advice because any specific advice would depend on your situation.  Any results posted on this page are not guarantees of outcomes in your case.

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