You should never assume that just because a breath-alcohol test indicated you were over the legal limit of alcohol concentration while driving that the case against you is a slam-dunk. In fact, as the Fort Lauderdale DUI defense attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm can explain, results of the Intoxilyzer breath machines that are the standard in Florida have been successfully challenged in numerous cases.
Even in cases where you may well have been intoxicated, it may still come down to whether the machine was properly calibrated and properly used, and whether there may have been external factors that could well have affected the test.
As defense attorneys who have had a great deal of success with DUI cases, we are closely familiar with the shortcomings and successful legal challenges with the Intoxilyzer 8000, which is the model used by authorities in Florida. The reality is Intoxilyzer 8000 results are not necessarily as accurate or solid proof of DUI as police and prosecutors might have you believe.
If your Fort Lauderdale DUI arrest was based solely or largely on the results of an Intoxilyzer 8000, our DUI defense lawyers may have numerous defense avenues we can explore.Intoxilyzer Issues
Intoxilyzer tests are notorious for potential problems and inaccuracies. Examples of legal challenges to Intoxilzyer 8000 machines include:
- Proximity to other devices emiting radio waves that could impact the Intoxilyzer reading.
- The machine is not able to distinguish between blood-alcohol and the alcohol in a person’s mouth. So for instance, a person who uses smokeless tobacco, mouthwash, mints or lip balm could skew the results, indicating a false positive for a BAC over-the-limit.
- Some medications, such as heartburn or diabetes, can result in an Intoxilyzer result that is inaccurate.
- Someone who is sitting in certain positions or hyperventilating can result in a false positive test.
Specific to the Intoxilyzer 8000 used in Florida, there is also a flow sensor issue. For the test to work correctly, the person suspected of being intoxicated has to blow 1.1 liters of air into the machine in one continuous breath. However, there are some cases where the test results show people are blowing somewhere between 4 and 9 liters of air in a continuous breath. This is not just highly unlikely; anything above 6 is scientifically impossible. Indications like this would tell our DUI defense lawyers that the reading the machine outputs may not be accurate.
One formal official from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has commented on the flow sensor issue in court room testimony a few years ago, saying it was possible the machines could over-state the output. This raises an issue that we have seen come up frequently, which is that people are wrongly accused of refusal to blow, per Florida’s implied consent laws in F.S. 316.1932. That is, officers will accuse the subject of “faking it,” and not providing an adequate breath supply to trigger the machine, in turn attempting to throw the test. Refusal to submit to a DUI breathalyzer test is an automatic one-year license suspension. However, evidence of an inaccurate air flow sensor could be grounds to have that charge dismissed.
Given that there are clear indications of serious issues pertaining to Intoxilyzer reliability and accuracy, those accused of DUI in Fort Lauderdale may have grounds to assert reasonable doubt. It is the prosecutor who has the burden of proving your case beyond a reasonable doubt, and failure to do say will allow you to avoid a conviction – along with all the consequences that go with that.Pre-Trial Motions to Exclude Intoxilyzer Evidence
Our criminal defense lawyers will do our best to have damaging evidence against you excluded. Depending on the circumstances, we may argue that:
- Breath test operator not properly trained/ permitted to conduct the test;
- Agency inspector not properly trained/ permitted to maintain/ calibrate the machine;
- An unauthorized person had access to the instrument, thereby contaminating the results;
- Officer failed compliance with 20-minute observation period before conducting breath testing;
- Driver’s medication condition produced a highly inaccurate or irregular reading.
There may be additional avenues we could explore based on your circumstances. Bottom line is these machines are not infallible, and neither is the case against you.
An experienced Broward DUI defense attorney can help you in formulating a strong defense in your case, which often includes challenging Intoxilyzer results.
If you have been charged with DUI in Fort Lauderdale, call The Ansara Law Firm today for your free initial consultation at (954) 761-4011.