Kent judge rules breathalyzer results cannot be used as evidence in DUI cases, citing software issues

Another judge has determined the results of a breathalyzer used by all law enforcement in the state cannot be used as evidence in a DUI case.

Kent Municipal Court Judge Anthony Gipe ruled the results in a specific case could not be admissible in court because the breathalyzer’s software "did not utilize the formula" required by state law.

This follows a ruling from the Kitsap County District Court earlier in June. The court blamed the Washington State Toxicologist for the potential unwinding of previous DUI cases, as the breathalyzer results used as evidence in those cases were not in line with state requirements.

The Dräger breathalyzer is a device that is used to test a person’s blood-alcohol level and is used by nearly every law enforcement agency in the state. 

Instead of rounding the level to three decimal points, the calculation required by state law, the Dräger machine takes four samples, calculates the median, and then truncates the number to several decimal points.

Court faults State Toxicologist for breathalyzer calculation issues that could overturn DUI convictions

The Washington State Toxicologist is being blamed for what could prove to be the unwinding of tens of thousands of DUI cases where blood-alcohol readings from a breathalyzer were used in the conviction.

The four Kitsap County judges wrote an 89-page ruling suspending the admissibility of Dräger results in court going forward.

RELATED: Kitsap judges' ruling could eventually invalidate tens of thousands DUI convictions statewide

Get breaking news alerts in the FREE FOX 13 Seattle app. Download for Apple iOS or Android. And sign up for BREAKING NEWS emails delivered straight to your inbox.

That ruling applies to just Kitsap County cases. The Kent decision effects just a single case, but could be used to overturn or recalculate sentences in municipal DUI cases.