DUI Defense Update: Supreme Court to Hear Breath Debate


In DUI (Driving Under the Influence) cases, police and prosecutors rely on the breath test results as the most incriminating piece of evidence.  While one would think that these “certified” machines would be accurate, there is reasonable suspicion that technical defects exist with these machines.  The reliability, consistency, and accuracy of the machines has been called into question by criminal defense attorneys for several years now and the issue may finally be settled by the Supreme Court.

Currently the only certified machine law enforcement uses to measure the alcohol levels of suspected drunk drivers in Florida is the Intoxilyzer 8000 and it’s manufacturer CMI Inc., is headquartered in Kentucky.   CMI has been reluctant to turn over source code software for this machine.  At one point they did allow an Orlando Attorney to travel to their headquarters to inspect the software, however the visit did not produce the desired information.

The Florida Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on a drunk driving (DUI) appeal this February.  The issue they will be deciding is whether or not the manufacturer has to turn over source code software that the machines use.

Some cases have been dismissed while other cases have been put on hold.  The issue has made it up to the Florida Supreme Court and arguments will be heard February 5th.  The outcome of the decision will likely affect DUI cases all over the State.  Prosecutors may face a backlog of cases where breath results have been challenged.

When someone is being accused of a crime, the outcome can affect him or her for a lifetime.  In DUI cases, if you cannot beat the case there is a mandatory adjudication.  That means the case can never be expunged or sealed unless the charges were dropped.   In addition to fines, mandatory license suspension, probation, and community service, someone adjudicated guilty of a DUI will see their car insurance rate increase dramatically.

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