Flawed Breath Testing Program in Michigan
Michigan Police Suspend Breath Testing Contract
The Michigan State Police have discovered a flaw in the breath testing program used in DWI investigations in the state. The Michigan State Police sent a letter to other police departments and prosecutor’s offices throughout Michigan to inform them there is an issue with the breath test program. Unfortunately, the letter did not specify the flaws with the breath testing program, but it did state the contract with the breath testing company has been suspended due to the flaws.
Types of Breath Test Problems
Many people look at a breath test machine as perfect and beyond fault, but that often is the furthest thing from the truth. There are three main areas where breath testing can be flawed. First, like the current situation in Michigan, the breath testing systems can be flawed as a whole due to fundamental issues with the machines or with the processes needed to obtain a breath sample. Second, breath testing can also deal with flaws within the individual breath testing machines if the machine is not calibrated or maintained properly, or just has an unknown problem. Finally, there can be flaws in the process that law enforcement uses to obtain a breath sample. Simply put, there are many possible defenses to breath tests available, especially when an experienced DWI lawyer is involved.
Any problem with one of the three above potential flaws would cause the breath test reading to be erroneous. Once a breath test result is erroneous, it needs to be thrown out of court altogether because the legal foundations used to obtain the number are faulty and cannot be relied on in a court of law. Breath test machines are like any other piece of technology, and anyone who has used a copy machine at work or dealt with a slightly outdated computer knows, there are plenty of potential problems when dealing with technology.
What If the Breath Test Result is Thrown Out?
If there is a problem with the breath test and the results are not allowed in court, it does not necessary end a DWI prosecution. The prosecutor still may be able to prove the case through other evidence, such as video of a person acting intoxicated or possibly even admitting to drinking “eight to ten beers.” That being said, it is a fundamental blow to the prosecutor’s case anytime the breath test result is disallowed in court.
St. Louis DWI Lawyer Jason Korner
If you or a someone you know has been arrested for a DWI, whether there was a breath test or not, please contact St. Louis DWI lawyer Jason Korner at 314-409-2659, or click here to fill out the contact form and Mr. Korner’s office will contact you.
Source: The Detroit News, Michigan State Police finds flaw in breath alcohol testing, suspends contract,” January 13, 2020, https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/01/11/michigan-state-police-breath-alcohol-testing-devices-performance-issues/4444435002