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State Doesn’t Need DataMaster Ticket to Establish that the Machine is Reliable and Accurate

In State v. Taylor, 2015 VT 104 (August 14, 2015), the Vermont Supreme Court considered what kinds of evidence that State was required to produce in order to meet its burden in a civil suspension case.

Issue: Whether the State met its burden in a civil suspension case to show that the DataMaster breath-alcohol testing methods were valid and that the test results were accurate and accurately evaluated, even though the DataMaster ticket itself was not admitted into evidence.

Holding: The Court affirmed Defendant’s civil suspension, finding that the State did not need the ticket itself in evidence, because it established the validity of the methods and the accuracy of the results and their evaluation through the submitted affidavits of the officer and the chemist. The Court also found that both the Vermont Rules of Evidence and the more liberal evidentiary rules in civil suspension cases would permit the chemist to rely on the DataMaster ticket (even though it was not admitted) when formulating her affidavit.

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