Luzerne County - A judge's decision questioning the accuracy of breathalyzer tests could raise eyebrows in DUI cases across the state. A Dauphin County judge ruled this week that readings in more than a dozen cases performed by an intoxilyzer are inadmissible as evidence in court.
It could mean a major shift in the prosecution of the most common crime across the state of Pennsylvania. All eyes, including attorney's in Luzerne County like David Pedri are on Dauphin County. This week a judge threw out breathalyzer results in over a dozen DUI cases, "It takes a tool that is utilized by police across PA, on a daily basis, and it injects doubt into those numbers and concern into those conclusions."
The Dauphin County judge ruled that certain machines used to measure sobriety can't be considered accurate and now cannot be used to determine if a driver is drunk enough to be charged with the state's highest level of impairment. Thousands of DUI cases in the Harrisburg area could be derailed by the decision.
Luzerne county First Assistant District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce has seen his fair share of DUI cases. He says even if the courts decide to ban breathalyzers state wide, there are other field sobriety tests and blood tests that will hold up in the court of law. He says if DUI offenders are hoping this is their way out, don't hold your breath. "It would have to be the identical machine, the identical problem with calibration and I would say it's not really highly likely that you would get completely out of it."
Local attorneys say while this Dauphin County case is interesting, it has no bearing here unless the case is appealed to and upheld by the State Superior Court.