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CRIMINAL LAW 16: The trial court did not err in refusing to order a Daubert hearing as to the reliability of the DataMaster breathalyzer device as MCL 257.625a(6)(a) shows the Legislature has determined that the device’s results are valid and reliabl

UNDERLYING FACTS

In the early afternoon of November 4, 2016, defendant was pulled over after an officer was dispatched for a possible drunk driver. The officer had defendant exit his vehicle and perform several field sobriety tests. Those tests included a horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test, alphabet and counting tests, which required defendant to say his English alphabet from C to X and to count backward from 99 to 77 while tilting his head back and closing his eyes, as well as standing and walking tests that are not the subject of the instant appeal. The officer testified that, on the basis of defendant’s performance of the HGN test, he believed defendant had intoxicants in his blood. The officer administered a preliminary breath test to defendant, with a result of 0.16. The officer arrested defendant for operating a vehicle while intoxicated and took him to the Police Department. Defendant was convicted after a bench trial.

BREATHALYZER MERITS ANALYSIS

Defendant argues that in failing to order a hearing under Daubert regarding the reliability of the DataMaster breathalyzer machine, the trial court abused its discretion. The Michigan Legislature, in enacting MCL 257.625a(6)(a), has eliminated the general rule regarding the foundation needed for admission of chemical test results of a person’s breath.  Because the Michigan Legislature has determined that DataMaster breathalyzer results are valid and reliable, the trial court did not err in declining to order a Daubert hearing regarding the reliability of the DataMaster breathalyzer machine.

COMPLIANCE WITH ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS

Defendant argues that the trial court erred when it concluded that defendant’s breath test complied with the applicable administrative rules and that it should have suppressed the breathalyzer test results. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the DataMaster breathalyzer results. Because the surveillance video of the booking area and  the officer’s testimony demonstrates that the administrative regulations were complied with, the trial court did not err in admitting the DataMaster breathalyzer test results into evidence.

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