Breathalyzer machines can now be used as evidence in drunk driving cases in Dauphin County — and it could have a ripple affect across the state.
A Superior Court Judge overturned a ruling from earlier this year that said blood alcohol levels beyond a certain point could not be considered accurate.
But now any level can be admissible in court.
The Superior Court’s recent ruling isn’t going to erase the battle over whether breathalyzers should be allowed as trial evidence.
The defense says they’ll appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court so they can hopefully make a change throughout the entire state of Pennsylvania.
Breathalyzer tests used by police in Dauphin County revealing a blood alcohol content of .16 or higher were excluded as evidence earlier this year by a judge.
His ruling dismissed more than 20 cases.
Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico says the county is finally back on track.
“It will allow these cases to now go to trial and a jury can decide whether or not the individuals are guilty of DUI,” says Dauphin County DA, Ed Marsico.
Marisco says the county’s taking the appropriate measures to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
“Many meetings among Pennsylvania state police and prosecutors from across the Commonwealth to improve these types of devices so we don’t have to go through this type of litigation again in the future,” says Marsico.
But FOX43′s legal analyst, Steven Breit says it’s inevitable, and that the defense will appeal the Superior Court’s ruling.
And that could have the potential to reverse the ruling again, except this time it could affect the entire state.
“What this opinion could do is open up the floodgates where every evidential breath testing device in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania could be deemed to be invalid,” says criminal defense attorney, Steven Breit.
Right now most counties use a different type of breathalyzer than the one Dauphin County uses.
But a decision like that would make police departments rely solely on blood tests.