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Judges reject man’s Department of Toxicology claims

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The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the denial of the motion by a man charged with drunken driving to exclude any evidence or testimony from the state Department of Toxicology. The court rejected his argument that there were no rules or regulations on the books regarding the newly created department.

The Indiana General Assembly changed the operating or controlling authority of the Department of Toxicology of the Indiana University School of Medicine to the state Department of Toxicology, effective July 1, 2011. Tanner Piotrowksi, who faces three misdemeanor OWI charges, sought to exclude any evidence from the state department. His argument was based on statute, saying that the state department had to create its own rules by July 1, 2012, and since it did not, there are no existing regulations regarding officer training or breath test machines. Any certificates of training or maintenance or calibration of machines dated after July 1, 2012, should not be considered, he claimed.

Piotrowski was charged in December 2012.

The trial court denied his motion to exclude based upon its interpretation of I.C. 10-20-2 and I.C. 10-20-2-7.

In Tanner Piotrowski v. State of Indiana, 46A03-1306-CR-222, the state argued that if the Legislature had intended for the state department to promulgate an entirely new set of rules, it would have expressly said so.

“After reviewing the relevant statutes, we find that the legislature intended Ind. Code § 10-20-2-7 to effectuate a transfer of control of the Department of Toxicology from the Indiana University School of Medicine to the State of Indiana,” Judge Elaine Brown wrote. “Although the legislature transferred rulemaking authority to the State, it did not specifically require the State to promulgate a new set of rules regarding breath testing and gave the State discretion to rely upon the rules previously in existence. Accordingly, we conclude that the court did not err when it denied Piotrowski’s Motion to Exclude.”
 

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