Because of a statewide battle about a breath testing machine used in DUI cases, Florida taxpayers could spend as much as six figures a year to prosecute DUI cases over a $6,000 machine, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune is reporting.
Jacksonville DUI Defense Attorneys, as well as lawyers across the state who represent drivers charged with DUI, have fought with state prosecutors and the makers of the Intoxilyzer 8000, a machine used to measure the blood-alcohol content level of drivers suspected of DUI.
After attorneys successfully argued that obtaining the computer code that makes the machine work, subpoenas were sent to the Kentucky company to reveal the information after favorable rulings by judges in Jacksonville DUI cases and other cases throughout the state.
So far, the company has ignored those subpoenas and refused to release the information. Defense attorneys have successfully argued that because the machines are used in so many DUI cases and their readings can be compelling evidence against a defendant, the defendant has a right to review the information.
Because of the company’s refusal to provide the information, prosecutors on Florida’s southwest coast are spending $3,000 per case to fly in experts who can testify about the machines and their readings in order to secure convictions. Adding it up on a yearly basis could total six figures and that’s just in one area of the state. Prosecutors are going to cost taxpayers millions of dollars in order to go after drivers suspected of DUI.
The five-year ongoing battle between the state, the defense and the breath-testing company has caused the state to offer lower plea agreements and even drop charges because of the work of aggressive criminal defense attorneys. And now they’re going to hit taxpayers in the wallets and purses. Prosecutors have even asked judges to make defendants pay for the costs, though judges have been unwilling.
The newspaper reports that the Intoxilyzer 8000 is the only machine approved by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, so officials can’t just go by another machine to use. And FDLE isn’t planning on changing which machines can and can’t be used in the state.
This is a conundrum for the state and, luckily, judges have been unwilling to shift the burden of paying for this added expense to defendants. But it is just another step by Florida prosecutors to try to come down hard on suspected drunken drivers.
This crime is not only unsophisticated but typically committed by accident. And despite the characteristics of the crime, it is one of the most heavily penalized crimes on the books. Even a first-time offender can face thousands in fines and fees, probation, jail time, mandatory DUI school attendance, an ignition interlock device and other penalties. These charges must be aggressively defended and that includes fighting unreliable breathalyzer results. .
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville DUI defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
More Blog Entries:
Jacksonville Woman Faces DUI Charges After Crash: August 26, 2011
Costs of DUI trials could mount, by Todd Ruger, Sarasota Herald-Tribune