In a development that has sent shock waves across the state of Michigan, the MSP has investigated potential fraud by the Datamaster DMT breathalyzer device. The state of Michigan has told law enforcement to stop using those machines in drunk driving cases because of discrepancies in maintenance and certification for vendor intoximeters. To gain insight into this issue, we spoke to leaders in the criminal law community.
Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and has built a firm that is known as the top defense team in the state of Michigan. When asked about the issue, Grabel stated, “This will create a floodgate of appeals. Our phones have been ringing off the wall with people wanting to investigate old plea deals. This is the type of thing that not only hurts the defendant but can also compromise the judicial economy.”
William Amadeo is a partner at McManus and Amadeo in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a Senior Associate at Grabel and Associates. Amadeo is known as the top criminal defense lawyer in Washtenaw County and provided insight when he said, “I’ve reached out to a couple of prosecutors on this matter as Pittsfield Township is one of the police agencies that have been affected. Where this issue stands are still up in the air, but a lot of this will depend upon the degree of error. We will have to study the difference between the BAC taken from the datamaster and blood draws. The reality is that those charged with a super drunk (0.17) may not have a great appeal depending upon their plea, but those with a traditional OUI may have a fantastic opportunity to fight an issue. As for cases that went to trial, that is going to be very interesting because evidence may be tainted.”
Joe Brugnoli is an Associate at Grabel and Associates and one of the top criminal defense lawyers in Kent County. When asked for insight, Brugnoli stated, “A lot of counties that I work in have policies in place not to offer beneficial pleas for defendants based upon a drunk driving offense. In several of my cases, I had to work hard to bring justice to the client because of prosecutorial policies. As defense lawyers, we will have to take a hard look into all of our cases and see if this occurrence will provide a benefit to both our client and the justice system.”
While the investigation is still ongoing, there are possible discrepancies with the following police agencies:
Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office
Niles Police Department
Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office
Alpena County Sheriff’s Department
Beverly Hills Police Department
Detroit Detention Center
Pittsfield Township Police Department
Tecumseh Police Department.
With more evidence evolving, criminal defense lawyers will have the opportunity to research issues that may restore their client’s criminal records and potentially lead to civil litigation.