How Michigan’s Ongoing ‘Breathalyzer Fraud’ Investigation Affects You!

A blackboard with the word "update" written on it, with a person's hand holding a clock

The Michigan State Police are currently investigating the third party vendor (Intoximeters) responsible for servicing and maintaining the 203 DataMaster DMT machines in use across the state of Michigan. DataMaster DMTs are the type of machine Michigan law enforcement uses to breath test potentially drunk drivers once they’re back at the station after an arrest. Although roadside breath tests are used to help officers determine if someone is likely intoxicated, those results aren’t admissible in court. Only the results of the DataMaster test, taken back at the police station or jail, can be used as evidence in court. And now even those are in question

Why were the DataMaster machines being called into question?

Just last month it came to light during a review that there were some serious discrepancies in the service and maintenance records of DataMaster machines around the state. MSP immediately took the machines out of service, forcing law enforcement agencies around Michigan to use blood draws instead. Although not all the details of the investigation have been released yet, we know that MSP suspects Intoximeter employees of fraudulent record-keeping. The subsequent investigation has also revealed numerous discrepancies in DataMaster machines in use by 8 different law enforcement agencies across the state so far, including Alpena County Sheriff’s Department, Detroit Detention Center, and Tecumseh Police Department.

What did MSP do to rectify this situation?

As soon as it was discovered that the DataMaster machines may not be properly calibrated, MSP put a ‘stop order’ on all use of DataMaster machines by any law enforcement agency in Michigan. That was January 7th. After that, MSP sent representatives to every police station where a DataMsater was kept, and serviced them to ensure proper recalibration and good working order. According to MSP Col. Joseph Gasper, “A properly calibrated and maintained Datamaster DMT is an extremely reliable instrument, which is why placing the instruments temporarily out-of-service and assuming responsibility for maintaining all Datamasters in the state is an extreme move,…but it is an absolutely necessary move to safeguard the integrity of the criminal justice process.” That process has been completed and all of the DataMaster machines in Michigan are now back in service. 

How has the investigation affected drunk driving cases around the state?

Some cases were affected because people arrested for possible drunk or drugged driving could no longer be breath tested at the police station, which is faster and more convenient. Instead, all suspected DUI cases had to be transported to a local hospital for blood testing, which is more time consuming, more invasive, and more costly for the state. In addition, MSP had identified at least 52 drunk driving cases that may be impacted by the poorly or fraudulently maintained DataMaster DMT machines, and there may be more. As MSP Col. Gasper explains, “At this early stage in the investigation, the MSP does not know how many certification records were falsified or how long these deceptive practices were occurring.” So who knows what the real outcome will be in the end… But for now, the breath testing equipment is up and running all over Michigan once again. 

Being charged with drunk driving is expensive, invasive, and time consuming!

Being accused of drunk driving is a big deal. And while there are a handful of people whose cases may be tossed out based on these DataMaster issues, most of the charges are likely to stick. And no new cases are likely to be affected at all, given the fact that cops aren’t using the DataMaster machines until they’re recalibrated. So bear that in mind if you decide to get behind the wheel after a few drinks, because you’ll just end up being driven down to the hospital and subjected to a blood draw instead. However, if that happens, be sure to call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245 immediately. Our aggressive and experienced DUI defense attorneys are available 24/7 to help you through this ordeal.

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