Michigan’s Breathalyzer Mess
The Michigan Department of State Police is suspending its contract with the company that provides breath alcohol testing devices. The problem, results from some tests could be flawed. And some records certifying the accuracy of units may have been falsified.
In a letter to law enforcement departments and county prosecutors across the state, the MSP is warning about “performance-related issues” with Datamaster DMT breathalyzer devices. These issues will undoubtedly affect drunken driving court cases.
The MSP issued a stop order as soon as the department discovered problems with the vendor handling the maintenance and auditing of the devices. State Police investigators are now looking closely at the apparent forged maintenance records and charges may be filed.
East Lansing attorney Michael J. Nichols, who specializes in drunken driving cases, said he doesn’t know, quite what to make of the situation. He’s telling the Associated Press, the DataMaster is only part of the evaluation of sobriety, and it cannot be fully relied on as proof of how much alcohol is in someone’s system.
“Depending on exactly what the errors were and how pervasive they were, I think this could have a huge potential impact.” Nichols is suspicious about why the MSP sent the letter. He says the state is being transparent and that does not happen unless there’s more to it.