Pennsylvania State Police Decide to Halt the Use of Breath Testing for DUI

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Move comes after ruling in Commonwealth v. Schildt Called Breath Testing Evidence into Question

Justin McShane

So in essence we are convicting people, throwing them in jail, suspending their licenses and branding them as criminals; all based on this ancient technology.

In a major development, First Assistant District Attorney Francis T. Chardo of Dauphin County has stated that Pennsylvania State Police will stop using breath testing across the state in favor of blood according to Law Weekly .

This comes after Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Lawrence F. Clark Jr. ruled against breath test evidence in Commonwealth v. Schildt (Court of Common Pleas, Dauphin County PA, Number 2191 CR 2010). He writes, "As a result of the evidence produced at the hearing, it is now extremely questionable as to whether or not any DUI prosecution which utilizes a reading from an Intoxilyzer 5000EN breath testing device could presently withstand scrutiny based upon the startling testimony of the commonwealth's own witness, Mr. Faulkner, at the hearing".

The Intoxilyzer 5000EN is widely used by police departments for DUI breath testing in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania State Police typically use the BAC DataMaster device, but those devices have also been implicated by the Schildt judgment due to the implementation of the calibration check regime.

Schildt's attorney Justin McShane believes the change is for the better, "Breath testing machines like the Intoxilyzer 5000 have been around for over 40 years with very little development in their core technology. So in essence we are convicting people, throwing them in jail, suspending their licenses and branding them as criminals; all based on this ancient technology. There is a better, more accurate way which is blood testing when it is done correctly and it is encouraging to see that State Police will be using blood testing instead."

Chardo also mentioned that the Commonwealth will be appealing the Schildt ruling in this case.

About The McShane Firm: Located in Harrisburg, The McShane Firm is Pennsylvania's foremost DUI and criminal defense law firm. Founded in 2004, McShane and his legal team have fought for the citizens of Pennsylvania in cases involving DUI and other criminal matters and achieved positive results for hundreds of clients. The McShane Firm lawyers believe in continually expanding their knowledge of DUI law through continued education, and bring these lessons to the courtroom to defend the citizen accused. For more information, please visit PADUIblog.com and TheTruthAboutForensicScience.com.

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Commonwealth v Schildt Ruling