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Lawyer seeks to have DUI breath tests halted in Pennsylvania

| Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, 6:34 p.m.
Bob Saxman blows into a breathalyzer held by course instructor Ron Harvey as part of a sobriety test training program for police officers at the Springdale Township Fire Department. Tribune-Review file photo

A Dauphin County lawyer filed a request on Monday to throw out breath testing for alcohol in Pennsylvania, a week after a judge ruled breath testers aren't accurate for analyzing alcohol in the blood.

Attorney Justin McShane said he filed his request in Dauphin County Common Pleas Court but expects the judge to allow the case to move to state Superior Court, where it could have statewide implications.

“I'm not interested in getting drunk people off. I'm interested in people who are falsely accused,” McShane said. “Blood testing is the way to go if it's done correctly. Let's get out of the 1950s.”

Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico could not be reached for comment.

Dauphin County Judge Lawrence F. Clark Jr. ruled last week that machines such as Breathalyzers and Intoxilyzers, used to measure a driver‘s intoxication, can't be considered accurate for blood-alcohol readings between zero and .05 percent or beyond .15 percent. The legal limit is .08 percent. Because of Clark‘s decision, police in Dauphin County can‘t use the devices to determine whether someone is intoxicated enough for prosecution under the state's highest level of DUI impairment of .16 percent and above.

McShane based his challenge on how police calibrate the machines.

Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or bkerlik@tribweb.com.

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