300 Florida DUI Cases To Be Dropped Because of Faulty Intoxilyzer Maintenance
By: Chris Kramer
Intoxilyzers are the source of controversy yet again in Florida cases of DUI!
Recently, a Florida appellate court ruled that certain breath-alcohol test machines were improperly maintained and thus produced inadmissible results in about 300 drunk driving cases.
Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeals upheld a previous ruling tossing out blood alcohol content results from Intoxilyzers that were tested with tap water instead of distilled water.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement requires breath test machines to be tested with distilled water.
The attorneys in these cases used their knowledge of Florida DUI law to successfully argue that Intoxilyzer results may have been skewed when the Broward Sheriff's Office and Davie Police Department tested the machines with tap water.
With this reinforcement from the appellate court, these 300 Florida DUI cases could now be thrown out of court.
This incident isn't the first time that Intoxilyzers have caused an intoxicating stir in Florida.
The Intoxilyzer 5000 was a major topic of debate in the state for nearly a year after its manufacturer refused to reveal its source code for proprietary reasons.
Florida DUI attorneys argued in more than 400 DUI cases that they could not determine the accuracy of the Intoxilyzer 5000 without knowing its source code.
Florida DUI law requires disclosure of "full information about the test" during DUI cases.
Since the manufacturer of the Intoxilyzer 5000 would not share its source code, prosecutors in these cases were unable to comply with the law.
Some judges immediately dismissed Intoxilyzer results as evidence while other counties rejected these challenges by Florida DUI attorneys.
In response to such controversy, the Florida legislature passed a bill that clarified the meaning of "full information about the test" in DUI cases.
The bill made it known that a prosecutor's inability to produce source code from a manufacturer could not be used as a challenge to the Intoxilyzer test result.
While the Intoxilyzer 5000 was quickly replaced by the 8000 model, this recent ruling in Broward County further adds fuel to the fire about the accuracy of breath testing machines.
Remember that breathalyzer test results are not 100% certain, as they make certain assumptions about the "average person" which may not apply to everyone when estimating BAC.
Furthermore, breath test results may be skewed when machines improperly calibrated or maintained, as in Broward County.