Monday, March 28, 2011

Florida DUI Intoxilyzer Evidence Put Into Question

St. Petersburg Criminal Attorney and Former State Prosecutor Melinda Morris of the Morris Law Firm discusses the recent rulings on Florida DUI Intoxilyzer evidence and how it may benefit those arrested for DUI.


Florida utilzies the Intoxilyzer 8000 to provide evidence of Driving Under the Influence (DUI).    The Intoxilyzer 8000 is an infrared spectrometry breath alcohol instrument that measures levels of intoxication by blowing into a tube connected to the device.  In Florida, a blow of over .08 is considered to be over the limit.

Now, the Intoxilyzer 8000 is coming under attack by criminal defense attorneys and DUI experts who are challenging the legitimacy and accuracy of the results produced from the machine.  In fact, the forensic test is being challenged in Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Sarasota counties just to name a few.

Because of the legal challenges, judges in two Florida counties (Orange and Osceola) will not allow Intoxilyzer evidence in a DUI case.  The legal challenges continue to mount against the device while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) continues to defend the device which provides critical evidence for prosecutors to pursue those arrested for DUI.

Why This Matters To You:

Without a breath test measurement, the State Attorney is without a critical piece of evidence to convict someone accused of DUI.

The challenges to the Intoxilyzer 8000 are more than just legal wrangling.  There are serious unanswered issues around the machine and its manufacturer that have not been answered while the evidence continues to be used to convict those accused of DUI.  For example, the Intoxilyzer 8000 takes two readings for every breath test and also measures a control test before and after the test subject’s blow, but there is no way to be certain that even the control test is accurate.  Further, there are 40 pieces of data that go into generating a breath test result from the machine - unfortunately, all of that data is deleted after the results are generated.  As with any normal scientific procedure, a margin of error would be available - not so with the Intoxilyzer 8000.  As well, CMI, the manufacturer of the device, has failed to allow attorneys to review the source code or software that runs the Intoxilyzer 8000 citing trade secrets.

As criminal defense attorneys continue to attack the Intoxilyzer 8000, more and more judges may stop relying on the evidence it produces.  This would leave prosecutors with only the observations of police officers and witnesses to rely on for a conviction.

What To Do Next:

If you have been arrested for DUI or other drug related crimes contact a St. Petersburg DUI Attorney to discuss possible defenses and specific strategies that may exist in your case.  Call the Morris Law Firm at 727-388-4736 to discuss your case directly with an attorney, or fill out our Online Form to be contacted for a Free Initial Consultation.  The Morris Law Firm can help and has specific knowledge and experience in defending DUI offenders throughout Pinellas County and the entire Tampa Bay, FL Area (St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Hillsborough, Pasco, Bradenton, Manatee, and Sarasota).