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Could Breath Test Inaccuracies Result in New DUI Trials in Illinois?

The majority of DUI charges and convictions arise out of the results of a blood or breath test that is administered by the police during traffic stops. In many cases, the court and prosecution take for granted that the results of such tests are accurate, but that is not always the case, as improperly calibrated machines can lead to false readings. Convictions based on inaccurate breath test results may be overturned, though, as demonstrated in Massachusetts, where thousands of people recently received notices they may be eligible for new trials. If you are accused of a DUI offense, it is prudent to engage a skillful Illinois DUI defense attorney to assess the sufficiency of the State’s evidence in your case.

Notices Issued in Massachusetts

Reportedly, close to thirty-thousand people in Massachusetts were recently advised that they may be eligible for new trials in their DUI cases due to problems with the evidence used against them. Notably, the notices were sent out almost a year after the underlying issue came to light. Specifically, in 2019, the State became aware that officials working in the State Police lab permitted improperly calibrated machines to be used to administer breath tests to people suspected of DUI crimes. Further, the officials then attempted to hide the full extent of the issue.

As a result, anyone who admitted to the sufficiency of facts or pleaded guilty in a DUI case between June 2011 and April 2019 may be eligible for a new trial. The notices advise the people impacted by the recent discovery that their cases may have been tainted by the devices, and they have grounds to challenge the rulings against them.

Illinois’ Rules Pertaining to Calibration of Breath Test Machines

Similar to Massachusetts, there are regulations in Illinois that establish testing guidelines that the State must employ for any machine that is used to test a person’s blood alcohol levels. The regulations also dictate the measures the State must take to verify that the results of a breath test are accurate. If a breath test machine was not properly calibrated or a defendant can show that the results of a breath or blood test are not accurate, the results may be inadmissible. While the preclusion of a defendant’s blood alcohol content level does not result in the automatic dismissal of DUI charges, in many instances, it is impossible for the State to establish a defendant’s guilt without such results. Additionally, there have been instances where the Illinois courts have overturned a defendant’s DUI conviction based on findings that the State did not adequately verify the accuracy of a breath test machine prior to using it to administer a test.

Speak with a Seasoned DUI Attorney in Illinois Today

If you are accused of committing a DUI offense, you may be able to argue that the State’s evidence is inadmissible, and it is prudent to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is a seasoned Illinois DUI defense attorney, and he can advise you of your potential defenses and help you to seek the best outcome possible in your case. You can reach Mr. Harvatin via his online form or by calling 217.525.0520 to schedule a conference.


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