In February of 2017, Massachusetts District Court Justice Robert Brennan handed down a ruling that could result in the expungement of thousands of DUI convictions between 2012 and 2014. He stated that the absence of clear protocols from the Massachusetts Office of Alcohol Testing means there’s no way to know if law enforcement officials properly calibrated breathalyzers used to confirm drunk driving.
This issue was brought to light in a class-action lawsuit that claims its 535 plaintiffs received DUI convictions based on imperfect science and a lack of governmental oversight. The case contends that since there was no written protocol for these BAC tests between June 2012 and September 2014 that those sentenced based solely on breathalyzer results can’t be measured by any sort of legal litmus test. If their results are thrown out, each plaintiff’s case would have to be retried individually.
Thousands May Be Affected
Beyond the 535 plaintiffs named in the suit, there are thousands of Massachusetts drivers who may or may not have been unjustly convicted of drunk driving over several years. Currently, between 2,000 and 3,000 pending cases have been stayed. If Justice Brennan’s ruling stands, that number could easily exceed 20,000 people.