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Michigan Probe into Contractor That Calibrates Breathalyzer Machines Called Into Question

In the majority of DUI investigations, the investigating officer will administer a breath test to the DUI suspect via a breathalyzer machine. Thus, the prosecution’s sole or primary evidence in many DUI cases are the results of a breath test. Accordingly, the results must be accurate. Recently, however, it came to light that the breathalyzer machines used by Michigan police may be compromised, affecting hundreds of cases. Further, there are questions regarding it represents a conflict of interest for the police to be conducting the probe into the matter. While the outcome of the Michigan investigation remains to be seen, it is prudent for anyone charged with DUI in Illinois following a breath test to speak with a trusted Illinois DUI attorney to discuss what defenses may be available.

Michigan Breathalyzer Probe

Reportedly, the Michigan State Police recently stopped using over two hundred breathalyzer machines, due to the fact that the contractor that calibrates the machines is accused of fraud. Thus, the State Police began conducting a criminal investigation into the contractor and noted issues with the performance of many breathalyzer machines. As a result, many police agencies currently have to use blood tests rather than breath tests in the investigation of DUIs, which means both greater resources and time have to be devoted to DUI arrests.

The issue, which may stem back to 2018, is not only draining the resources of police throughout the state, it has also called into question whether the police should be conducting the investigation into one of their own contractors. Specifically, many criminal defense attorneys believe an independent investigation is necessary to determine the scope of the issue, and to protect the rights of criminal defendants whose cases may be affected by the results of the investigation. Others have stated that allowing the police to conduct the investigation essentially allows them to determine whether the contractor the police hired violated the law.

Illinois Regulations Regarding Breathalyzer Machines

Illinois has regulations that are designed to ensure that breath test machines are accurate. Further, in at least one case, an Illinois court has overturned a DUI conviction on the grounds that the device used to administer the breath test to the defendant had not been certified as accurate as required by the regulations. Due to the lack of certification, the court reviewing the defendant’s conviction found that the trial court improperly admitted the results of the defendant’s breath test. Accordingly, the State could not establish the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which led to the conviction being overturned and the case being remanded for a new trial.

Meet with a Trusted DUI Attorney

If you are a resident of Illinois currently charged with a DUI crime, it is advisable to meet with a trusted Illinois DUI defense attorney regarding what evidence the State may be permitted to use against you. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is a skillful DUI defense attorney, and he has the knowledge and experience needed to help you seek a just result. Mr. Harvatin can be reached via his online form or at 217.525.0520 to schedule a meeting.