SJC: Nearly 30K drunken driving cases in Mass. in jeopardy over faulty breathalyzer tests

BOSTON — Nearly 30,000 drunken driving cases in Massachusetts are at risk of being thrown out over faulty breathalyzer tests, the state’s Supreme Judicial Court said Wednesday.

After a complaint filed was received and sworn into the Salem District Court in October 2013, it was determined that Alcotest 9510 breathalyzer devices were faulty because they weren’t being routinely calibrated after use.

In the ruling, the SJC said that about 27,000 defendants who pleaded guilty to or who were convicted after trial of operating under the influence in cases involving the faulty tests between June 1, 2011, and April 18, 2019, “are entitled to a conclusive presumption of egregious government misconduct.”

The SJC said in its ruling that the “egregious” behavior by the Massachusetts State Police’s “Office of Alcohol Testing” has “resulted in the violation of the right to due process.”

“By extension, any breath test conducted using an Alcotest 9510 device during that time period must be excluded in any pending or future prosecutions,” the SJC said.

The defendants are now entitled to proceed with motions to withdraw their guilty pleas and ask for new trials.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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