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FDLE Not 100% Sure Its Own DUI Breath Tests Are Valid

111013072747_Faulty-Breathalizers.jpgIf you've been pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida, you were probably given at least one field sobriety test and a breathalyzer was likely used to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The legal limit in Florida is 0.08; blowing at or above this number means a ride to the police station, a night in jail and a drunk driving criminal charge.

Challenging breathalyzer results in Florida is one of many defense strategies that your Orlando DUI defense lawyer may take, particularly if law enforcement used the Intoxilyzer 8000 to establish your BAC.

So, just how reliable is the Intoxilyzer 8000 -- a machine that may be the first step toward a suspended driver's license and DUI charge? As it turns out, not even the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is entirely sure.

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In October, 15 FDLE workers were basically paid to get drunk in order to test the Intoxilyzer 8000 machines used for Florida DUI breath tests. The FDLE was attempting to confirm that the machine would output accurate results even if it was not properly calibrated.

Despite the consequences of a false BAC reading by the Intoxilyzer 8000, a spokeswoman from the FDLE stood behind the 'study' -- or what others might call a small office party -- to test the machine's accuracy. "The study eliminated any doubt and gives Floridians peace of mind that the Intoxilyzer is producing accurate results, working as it should to assist law enforcement in keeping us safe," the FDLE spokeswoman stated.

Whether this 'study' truly protects Floridians is debatable. One of the first steps an Orlando drunk driving defense attorney may take in your DUI case is to try to keep out of evidence any unreliable information related to the criminal charges you face. In fact, BAC results from an Intoxilyzer 8000 have previously been excluded from being used against a person charged with a Florida DUI because of their questionable accuracy.

The consequences of even a first offense DUI can be severe and long term. If there is any doubt as to the accuracy of the testing machines, it seems appropriate that a more scientific test be completed before any Floridian is charged with DUI based on bad evidence. Or, that results from the Intoxilyzer 8000, or any test that law enforcement itself questions the accuracy of, simply not be used in an Orlando-area DUI arrest.

Source: WESH Orlando, "FDLE Workers Paid To Get Drunk, Test Machines," February 22, 2012

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