The San Diego Police Department uses Intoxilyzer 8000 machines when testing drivers suspected of a DUI. They’re driving to 1401 Broadway, Room 138.
The San Diego PD drunk driving cop usually parks in the sally port and then removes the accused. The accused is supposed to be observed for 15 continuous minutes before blowing in the estimator but lawyers frequently prove they do NOT.
But there’s other problems with these machines. In fact, the Florida Supreme Court just affirmed lower court decisions in Sarasota that make it more difficult to convict DUI defendants who blew into a questionable machine called an Intoxilyzer.
DUI Attorney Prosecutors from two other counties called the Sarasota County State Attorney’s Office last week to report that defense attorneys there are mimicking a legal battle over the Intoxilyzer 8000, the only machine approved for use in the state, prosecutor Erica Arend said Friday.
Prosecutors have been forced to plead down or in some cases dismiss hundreds of DUI arrests over the past few years in which the breath-test is the most powerful evidence against a defendant.
Judges in Sarasota and Manatee counties have ruled that DUI defendants are entitled to examine the computer code inside the Intoxilyzer 8000 to see how it works.
But the Kentucky-based company that manufactures the machine, CMI, has refused to turn over what it says is an important trade secret, giving Sarasota and Manatee defense attorneys an avenue to attack the machine’s admissibility during the past four years.
Prosecutors in Sarasota county say the breath tests are still usable and reliable — with a legal workaround.
But that involves a cost of $1,000 per case to fly in an expert, and it requires more time for each trial.
Defense attorneys say there are hundreds of pending cases that could be affected by the court challenge, which could now lead to the exclusion of breath tests altogether.
The 12th Circuit State Attorney’s Office has informally asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to urge CMI to turn over the source code so prosecutors can more easily introduce breath-tests in court, Arend says. Courts have ordered the company to do so, but it has refused.
“We want CMI to follow the court orders,” Arend said. “Anything we can do as a local state attorney’s office, we’ve done.”
But CMI has not budged, and it has waged a costly legal defense to protect its trade secret. Defense attorneys estimate the company also racked up what could be more than $2 million in fines for contempt of court.
The technology inside the Intoxilyzer 8000 is not exactly cutting edge. The microprocessor chips are the same used in the Tandy TRS-80, the hit of the home computer industry in 1977, local defense attorneys say.
The machines were rolled out across Florida starting around 2005. FDLE approved the machines, and says the machines are reliable and the availability of the source code has nothing to do with its operation, which they’re hoping will last more than ten years.