Tallahassee, FL – The Florida Supreme Court recently delayed oral arguments involving a drunken driving appeal that could possibly affect similar cases throughout the state.
The attorneys for three defendants were scheduled last week to appear before the justices to ask for permission to access the software for the Intoxilyzer 8000, which would help them challenge the accuracy of breath test results.
The case has been rescheduled for Feb. 5.
The Seminole County defendants are appealing a ruling by the 5th District Court of Appeal.
The appellate court suppressed a trial judge’s ruling ordering the maker of the Intoxilyzer 8000, a Kentucky-based company called CMI Inc., to turn over its software.
This is the only breath test machine certified by the state for use in Florida.
This decision clashes with two similar appellate rulings that permitted defendants to subpoena records from out-of-state companies.
The purpose of the Intoxilyzer 8000 is to measure a person’s Blood Alcohol Content. How does this machine do this? First, a person blows into the machine through a mouthpiece that is connected to a tube. Then, the machine is supposed to calculate the amount of alcohol in the breath by converting it to show the BAC in the body. There are a few problems with this machine, the main being that it is not scientifically accurate 100 percent of the time.
A few of the machines other problems, involve the following:
• The manufacturer of the Intoxilyzer 8000, the Kentucky-based company CMI, Inc., will not divulge what computer software program the machine operates on. Because of this, there is no way to measure whether the machine is scientifically accurate.
• This breath test machine can frequently break, requiring it to be sent back to the manufacturer for repairs.
• In order to register the most accurate reading, the machine must be properly calibrated. When the machine is not properly calibrated, it may register a false reading.
• Breath tests are often administered at jail, which could affect the accuracy of the results. A significant amount of time can pass between when a person is initially pulled over by police until they are transported to jail. The Intoxilyzer 8000 is supposed to reflect the BAC at the time of driving, not a person’s BAC at jail. Once a person is taken to jail their BAC level could have increased or decreased.
• The Intoxilyzer 8000 does not differentiate between alcohol in the mouth and alcohol in the lungs. This machine can produce a reading that is rather high if there is lingering alcohol in the mouth.
• The breath test machine operates using averages. An average is not a precise interpretation and could exaggerate or minimize a person’s actual BAC.
• Certain factors such as hiccupping, belching or vomiting prior to testing can affect the results of a breath test. Various health conditions, like diabetes, and the temperature of a person’s breath at the time of testing can also affect the machine’s reading.
If you have been arrested for DUI anywhere in the state of Florida, contact a Florida DUI Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible. We can immediately look into the validity of breath test results obtained after your arrest. Call us today statewide and toll-free at 866-608-5529 or reach us online.