MSP Looking Into Issue With Evidential Breath Alcohol Testing Device

Michigan State Police say there’s a problem with a breath alcohol testing devices used across the state.

The device is known as a DataMaster DMT.

State Police say for 20 years they’ve contracted the maintenance for the devices to a vendor.

That was until last Tuesday.

State Police say a performance related issue is the reason they’re now reaching out to prosecutors and taking over the work previously done by the vendor.

Defense Attorney Jesse Williams says the information gathered from these machines is often a key part of drunk driving cases.

“The DataMaster is used to convict thousands of people and jurors and judges really rely on it as the gospel. I mean if that words whispered and it’s the right number, more than likely you’re going to get convicted. So it’s a very important piece of evidence,” said Williams.

State Police say they’ve already notified prosecutors with cases that could be impacted, but says it’s still looking at data to see if other tests were affected.

“A drunk driving conviction can literally devastate someone. It can literally tear down everything they’ve built up so far in life. People lose jobs, they lose homes, they lose lots of things over drunk driving convictions and this is very serious so they need to very seriously come forth with this information,” said Williams.

Williams says the biggest question that needs an answer right now is just what issues specifically were found with these machines.

“If there are people who are sitting in jury trial today and get convicted unlawfully, or got convicted yesterday, or a week ago or a month ago or are pending trial, then just come out and explain what happened. Let’s fix the problem,” said Williams.

State Police say certified personnel are now working to make sure the DataMaster DMTs are in line with both state law and industry standards.