DA appeals breath test motion as police react statewide

Earlier this month, defense attorney Justin McShane filed a motion to dismiss all current breath tests statewide. Since then, five counties in the state, as well as Pennsylvania State Police, are changing their policies.

Spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Police, Trooper Adam Reed, said they changed their policy on January 9 to prevent risking future convictions.

McShane says eliminating the breath tests, which he says are outdated and often inaccurate, won't just benefit court cases.

“The bottom line of it is: to get the roads safer, we need to switch to blood testing,” he said, “Blood is modern technology, done correctly. We can put more confidence in it.”

However, prosecutors with the Dauphin County District Attorney's Office have a different opinion. Wednesday, District Attorney Ed Marsico filed an appeal with the state's Superior Court.

First Assistant District Attorney Fran Chardo explained why.  “Ultimately this has statewide implications,” he said.

He explained that there are really two questions involved with the motion.  The first, whether legally breath tests should be excluded, the other, the scientific questions of whether blood tests are a better way to go.

Chardo said the second question is really a matter of policy and that they are appealing the legal question.

“We believe that the breathalyzer machine is an appropriate tool, and we want to continue to use it in the right cases,” he said.

The appeals process could take between one and three years.

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