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Breathalyzer Tests Can Now Be Used (Again) In Mass. Drunken Driving Cases

A breathalyzer test is administered. The tests were barred from evidence in most Massachusetts drunken driving cases after it was discovered that the state wasn't transparent about flaws in testing. (KOMUnews/Flickr)
A breathalyzer test is administered. The tests were barred from evidence in most Massachusetts drunken driving cases after it was discovered that the state wasn't transparent about flaws in testing. (KOMUnews/Flickr)

Breathalyzer tests are once again admissible as evidence in Massachusetts courts, after a judge barred them in January.

The alcohol breath tests were excluded as evidence from most drunken driving cases after it was learned that the state withheld evidence from defense attorneys that showed hundreds of the tests were flawed.

In the past six months, the state Office of Alcohol Testing has retrained staff and instituted other reforms. It received national certification last month.

The same judge in the January case ruled this week that the tests should again be allowed. Defense attorney Peter Elikann says it's a victory for prosecutors.

"When they do have the breathalyzer, that certainly strengthens the prosecution's case and probably makes the prosecution's cases much more effective and a bit more winnable than they were when they had no use of the breathalyzer at all," Elikann said.

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