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Thousands DUI Cases Possibly Dismissed Over Invalid Breath Test Certificates

by ptbarone on March 29, 2010

Dreager Breath Test Machine

In South Africa, the use of the Draeger breathalyzer machines in drunk driving cases has been suspended until further notice because of a “legal loophole caused by a certification problem with the machines,” according to the Cape Times (Eliseev).

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) confirmed that it had withdrawn all court cases that had not yet started and that relied on the machines’ readings. Now all drivers arrested for driving under the influence will be automatically taken for a blood draw. These test results can take up to a year and half to get back, where breathalyzer machine results were instantaneous.

A representative from the company who manufactures the machines, Draeger, said the recertification process can take several months to complete. In the meantime, the NPA has agreed to dismiss only those drunk driving cases which have yet to start, and will not dismiss those that have already been completed.

Some think the dismissals are politically motivated.  According to one source, “I find it difficult to believe that the move to invalidate the Dräger machine in the Western Cape was not an attempt by ANC-aligned elements in the National Prosecuting Authority to influence the outcome of the case against Mthembu.”  Mr. Mthembu is an African National Congress national spokesperson.

Here in the United States, Draeger issues the machines to individual states with a Certificate of Accuracy. (Evan M. Levow). While every state is responsible for accuracy checks on a regular basis, certain states, such as New Jersey, believe they simply need to calibrate the machines and do linearity checks. However this does not ensure the machines are in proper working order.

Michigan uses a breath test machine called a DataMaster, and is about to begin using the new DataMaster DMT.  Here is a video showing this new breath test machine.

During a routine drunk driving arrest in Michigan, the arresting officer will have the accused submit to a DataMaster test at the police station or, if the client refuses this first option, then a blood sample will be obtained.  So far, Michigan has not had the type of certification problems facing prosecutors in South Africa.

When researching which attorney to hire for a Michigan DUI/OWI charge, make sure the firm has an extensive background in breathalyzer machine training. There are certain details, such as the events that occurred in South Africa that can help you win your case.

Get a FREE confidential CASE EVALUATION on your Michigan OWI/OWVI/DUI by calling (248) 306-9159, or filling out this consultation request form. Call now, there’s no obligation!


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Heather E Drew-Carroll April 17, 2010 at 1:30 pm

I was arrested for a owi 4th, March 20th 2010. From a 911 call at or from someone in the line of taco bell. Last arrest fall 2002, 8 Years ago.
A cop was called, pulled across street and waited for us to pull out and pulled us over at a turn. He accused us of marijuana and an accident in the drive-thru line. None of which was true. We don’t even know who called them or if it was real. Granted it has been plea bargained and it is a misdemeanor 2nd currently. With possible jail time and I will not drive until my son is a legal adult. All of us in the car know this was rediculous and he had no real grounds for arrest. I received the video and it has no sound at all. They never got the 911 call to my lawyer.

I have never had a lawful arrest in my life. It is good suspicion through expressing to a private investigator I called that I have been tracked by my sons birth father(since I left him 11yrs ago, as prior to this time; Never had any legal trouble) and I either have not enough money to find out or anyone to look into it even if I do have the money.

My lawyer right now said he would fight for me and get video etc for current arrest. Never got them.
Guess he lost his courage and did not want to fight it as a felony. Never called DMV and I have felt in the dark the whole way. He felt I was going to lose if we tried because of the prior stuff.

Is there any hope not on this but to do reappeal or gather info and find out if I am being tracked and what this exactly entails? For years before I would come home, police watching me, randomly pulling me over, following me.
I am tired and if I have to go to jail for a year or less, I need to look into this. I have other info on how I may be being watched randomly and why this just may of happened again. My son two years ago said he would never go to his fathers again because of the visual viewings over there on the t.v and them lying and slandering me in front of my son.
His current wife said I better watch my back(fall08) that they know people. After his complaint to the courts was dismissed the same black truck(late Feb/early March2010) was on my families property when the magistrate had me say my address in front of him(Jan2010).Letter sent in mail month later of dismissed complaint (end of Feb 2010). A week later a cop car followed us 20 miles and I was arrested a week later. This is very close to the times it occurred. Will there ever be anything I can do?

Sorry so poorly wrote.
Heather E Drew-Carroll


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