In a twist that will no doubt have far-reaching legal implications on the status of pending DUI cases and appeals, officials from the state police have sent out a statement to law enforcement officers and prosecutors across the state alerting them of issues with DMT breathalyzer kit used in testing the level of alcohol in drivers. In the statement, authorities have issued a notice on the discontinuation of the contract for the vendor that supplies the breathalyzer kits citing performance issues.
The statement sent out in a letter whose authenticity has been confirmed by multiple reputable sources was sent out on 10th January 2020 by Major Greg Zarotney who heads the Office of Professional Development in the Michigan State Police.
Intoximeters Inc. – The vendor tasked with the provision, certification calibration and maintenance of the Datamaster DMT breathalyzer kits used across Michigan has not yet released a reply to the statement by the authorities.
Though the authorities are cagey about releasing details on the “performance issues” that led to the discontinuation of the maintenance contract, this development is significant since prosecutors often rely heavily on the results obtained from breathalyzer kits when charging people accused of DUI.
The discontinuation of the contract essentially means that there were major issues in the calibration, maintenance, and auditing of the DMT breathalyzer kits which could have skewed test results for some kits.
Legal scholars opine that the cancellation of the contract could have a deep impact on pending cases and appeals. According to Daniel Kennedy a professor of criminal justice at Oakland University, this new development could open the floodgate for appeals to people who have been convicted of DUI across the state. This is because calibration and maintenance issues could have lowered the effectiveness and correctness of DMT breathalyzer kits and hence led to wrongful charges.
However, even after admitting to issues with the vendor, police across the state will still continue to use DMT breathalyzer kits. According to Major Zarotney, the only thing that will change is that the police will now be in charge of certifying and calibrating the breathalyzer kits at their disposal.
Though DMT sobriety test kits are used by most police and sheriff departments in the state, it is baffling that some jurisdictions have not yet officially received the statement. However, Major Zarotney says that the statement was only sent out to jurisdictions where issues with the kits have been confirmed. Authorities say that investigations are still ongoing and any affected jurisdictions will be promptly notified.
Until full details are provided on the actual problems with the DMT breathalyzer kits, many attorneys who specialize in DUI cases across Michigan have vowed to ask for adjournment on their pending cases. This is to ensure that they fully understand the nature of the errors in the kits being used by police to evaluate driver sobriety and the potential ramifications of the errors in these kits.
Given this new development, if you have failed a breath test or have been charged with a DUI, get in touch with The Bateman Firm today by calling 864-881-7070.
Source Article: https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/01/11/michigan-state-police-breath-alcohol-testing-devices-performance-issues/4444435002/