Two Ohio municipal court judges have put their foot down on breathalyzer test results in DUI criminal trials. Circleville Municipal Judge Gary Dumm and Athens County Municipal Judge William A. Grim independently ruled that until the government can show the results of the Intoxilyzer 8000 are scientifically validated, the breath test results from that particular model will be inadmissible in their courts.
While these rulings lack precedential effect on any other courts, they seem to signify a growing reluctance by courts to allow the Intoxilyzer 8000 results to support DUI convictions. Judge Dumm noted in his decision that Tennessee tested and refused to approve the Intoxilyzer 8000 because it "failed to yield satisfactory results on all accuracy, precision and performance tests."
Many Valid Concerns
Florida has also seen its share of controversy over the Intoxilyzer 8000, which is the state's only approved breathalyzer model. Those challenging the use of the device claim it does not match federally approved breathalyzers as required by Florida law. State officials assert that the discrepancy is based on a typographical error, not a substantive difference.
Instances of tampering have also called into question the validity of the Intoxilyzer 8000. In 2008, a Florida Department of Law Enforcement examiner was fired for manipulating test results by unplugging the machine before questionable results could be recorded. Because the examiner was responsible for testing all breathalyzer machines used in Miami-Dade County, many innocent people may have been convicted with faulty evidence.
The most widespread litigation has been over the source code for the Intoxilyzer 8000's software. The manufacturer (CMI)'s concerns over disclosing the source code have cast a veil of suspicion over the code and how it could affect the device's test results. CMI continues to resist disclosing all of its software and source code for review, claiming intellectual property concerns. The battle does not appear to be ending any time soon.
No Change in Sight
While no Florida judges have gone as far as to refuse Intoxilyzer 8000 evidence in their courts, the controversy and skepticism continue. The device continues to be used to convict hundreds and thousands of people of DUI offenses and will continue to do so unless judges act on their skepticism.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI offense, contact an experienced DUI defense attorney to discuss your situation and your options.