Ruling in Commonwealth v Schildt May Open the Doors for Breath Cases to be Challenged?
Media Coverage of This Important Ruling
On December 31, 2012 Dauphin County Judge Lawrence F. Clark in the case of Commonwealth v Schildt ruled that the current calibration methods for Pennsylvania breath testing machines leave the devices inadequate to measure samples outside of the range of 0.05% to 0.15%. The ruling opens the door for thousands of the Highest BAC (over 0.16%) cases to be reviewed.
In his ruling, Judge Clark writes, “the utilization of any instrument reading above or below that range cannot, as a matter of science and therefore the law, satisfy the Commonwealth’s burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt on an essential element of a charged offense for an alleged violation of 75 Pa.C.S.A. §3802(c) of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code.” (View the complete ruling in Commonwealth v Schildt).
The case was litigated by Attorney Justin McShane of The McShane Firm.
Would you use a baby car seat with your child if it wasn’t proven to work correctly before you used it?
Of course not!
But that is exactly what the prosecutors are doing when it comes to evidentiary breath testing for DUI all across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Current regulations from the Department of Health and PennDOT call for breath machines to be calibrated yearly or more often depending on their performance. During the calibration process, three known solutions of 0.05%, 0.10% and 0.15% are tested.
Attorney McShane argued that this method constituted a range of 0.05% to 0.15% that could be tested with scientific validity, but samples outside of that range could not be scientifically proven. He presented comprehensive expert reports from, as the Court notes “heavily-credentialed scientists” in support of the claim that tests that fall outside the range of 0.05% to 0.15% lack scientific backing. After reviewing the expert testimony and reports, the court ruled in favor of Attorney McShane’s client thus calling into question breath test evidence from thousands of cases across Pennsylvania.
Can My Conviction Get Overturned?
This new ruling has implications relating to thousands of DUI cases across Pennsylvania. The best way to find out if you are eligible for relief is to contact our firm to have an attorney review the details of your case. For a free case review, please submit the form below.