DETROIT – Michigan drivers stopped for suspected drunken driving can expect to forego the breathalyzer and instead take a blood test after state police discovered problems with their breathalyzers.
The situation leaves nothing short of a black eye for Michigan State Police and many agencies across the state. There are questions about what happened with the Datamaster breathalyzer test, and many people who have been convicted, particularly in borderline cases, are wondering if their case was affected.
State troopers suspected something was wrong last August. A contractor with three employees in the state calibrating more than 200 machines might not have been doing so correctly.
Over the weekend, more information came to light, and now state police have taken over the calibrations and taken the machines out of service.
The whole situation came as a shock to DUI attorney Steve Schwartz, of Bloomfield Hills.
“People have lost not only their freedom, but their jobs,” Schwartz said. “Their families are impacted by this for somebody’s deceit and dishonesty, and that’s inherently wrong, and it’s pretty scary to think that type of activity goes on here in 2020.”
MSP troopers are talking fraud and other criminal activity, so now anyone stopped for suspected DUI can expect to donate blood. To anyone who refuses, police said driving is a privilege, not a right.
“You would lose your license under the implied consent laws in Michigan for at least one year,” Schwartz said.
Now the concern turns to borderline convictions that could lead to appeals. Schwartz said he’s heard from many of his past clients, and he’s recommending patience.
“I just said we need to put this on hold for a few weeks,” Schwartz said. “My cases right now -- I’m adjourning at least three or four weeks so we can try to get to the bottom of what’s going on here.”