SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- A breathalyzer ban is in effect in Massachusetts after a judge ordered a major rehaul of the state agency in charge of testing.
Any breathalyzer results already gathered cannot be used in current court cases.
The judge's latest ruling has stopped the use of breathalyzer tests altogether so the state can address some serious concerns.
The Office of Alcohol Testing that maintains breathalizer tests in the state of Massachusetts is not accredited.
A judge ruled this week that until they are, none of the breathalizer tests that have been taken in the state can be used in court.
"It's huge because as we stand here right now, breath tests are not permitted to be introduced. That's indefinite until the Office of Alcohol Testing provides proof to this judge to show that they are going to receive accreditation," said Lead Council Joe Bernard.
Bernard is a Springfield-based attorney at the front of a class action lawsuit that has been working on this case for three years. The latest development will require an overhaul that other states already have.
"We as citizens pay millions of dollars for this office to take care of these machines and to maintain these machines and they weren't doing it properly," Bernard continued.
The ruling also means that anyone who has had a conviction in the last ten years based on a breath test has the oportunity to fight that conviction in court, which is about 50,000 cases.
"Any defendant who has been found guilty, or has pled guilty because of the breath test evidence, they now have the possibility to withdraw and ask for a new trial," Bernard explained.
District attorneys from the Berkshires to Boston have adoped this mandate, but police officials want the public to know this will not impact how they arrest drunk drivers.
In a statement sent to Western Mass News, the Police Chief's Association of Western Mass said:
"Officers still have at their disposal their written reports along with recording of suspects arrested for OUI. These video tapes have been very helpful in the prosecution of people suspected of OUI."
The public should feel confident that this in no way will deter officers from not making OUI arrests.
According to a spokesperson for the Office of Alcohol Testing, they plan on submitting an application for accreditaton within the next 60 days.
The Office of Alcohol Testing also said that with major changes made over the last year like increasing staff and making documents more easily available for attorneys, they're confident their accreditation will be approved.