27,000 drunken driving cases in jeopardy

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The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC, the highest Court in Massachusetts) has recently issued a ruling on the case of Commonwealth v. Hallinan in which it found that breathalyzer testing machines were improperly calibrated. This could result in tens of thousands of convictions being overturned and/or dismissed. The SJC found “egregious government misconduct” as some state officials knew about the problem with the machines and covered it up. The SJC found that “The extensive nature of OAT’s misconduct, and the inability of the defendants in the consolidated cases challenging the reliability of the Alcotest 9510 device . . . have resulted in the violation of the right to due process for approximately 27,000.00 defendants.”

The SJC held that any defendants who were found guilty after trial or plead guilty in cases involving breath test results from the Alcotest 9510 between June 1, 2011 and April 18, 2019 are “entitled to a conclusive presumption on egregious government misconduct.” This means that any of these 27,000.00 defendants who with to withdraw guilty please or file motions for new trials are deemed to have established the legal burden that there was in fact egregious government misconduct. The results of any breath tests from the Alcotest 9510 between June 1, 2011 and April 18, 2019 are excluded from evidence or use at any subsequent trial or hearing.

If you were involved in an Operating under the Influence case which involved a breath test result from a Alcotest 9520 between June 1, 2011 and April 18, 2019, you should seek the advice of a licensed attorney who practices in this area.

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