One of the most common machines used by police to determine whether a driver is intoxicated, the Intoxilyzer 8000, has recently drawn controversy for its unreliability. The device, which has been determined to be unreliable in other states, measures blood alcohol content (BAC) by using infrared light. A driver is instructed to blow into the machine, where the driver’s breath enters a chamber full of infrared rays. The infrared rays, which absorb alcohol, are measured before and after they come into contact with the driver’s breath. Using these values, police are able to estimate what percentage of a driver’s breath is composed of alcohol, or, in other words, the driver’s BAC.
According to a report by FloridaToday.com, a group of criminal defense attorneys challenged the reliability of the Intoxilyzer 8000, claiming that it was not as accurate as it purported to be. Although the Intoxilyzer 8000 is approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, because so many convictions rest on the device’s accuracy, Florida courts take allegations of inaccuracy seriously.
The device was recently put through a series of rigorous tests here in Florida last month. The results of the tests are pending. In the mean time, the Intoxilyzer 8000’s reliability will be argued on a case-by-case basis in front of Florida juries.
Evidence in Criminal Trials Must Be Reliable
Those who challenge the Intoxilyzer 8000’s use are arguing that the “evidence” produced by the device is too unreliable to be considered by the jury in criminal trials. In all criminal trials, the jury must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime in order to convict him. In conducting this determination the jury is permitted to consider all kinds of evidence, from eyewitness testimony to lab reports to in-court identifications. However, whatever evidence is submitted to the jury must, in the most general sense, be considered reliable. If a test is generally unreliable, the results can not be used in a criminal trail. This is why polygraph test results, or “lie detector” tests, are generally not admissible.
DUI Crimes in Florida Are Taken Seriously
Part of the reason why it is so important for these BAC-detecting machines to be accurate is because so much is at stake in DUI trails. Even a first-time offender can face a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in jail. A second-time offender faces even stiffer penalties of up to a $2,000 fine and nine months in jail. These figures do not take into account any injury or property damage that was caused as a result of the DUI.
Have You Been Charged with a DUI-Related Offense in Florida?
If you have been charged with a DUI-related offense in Florida, you may be able to attack the evidence the prosecutor will try to use at trial to prove you guilty of the offense. As an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense firm, the Forbess Law Firm has the experience and dedication to challenge even the strongest evidence against you.
Be sure to retain an experienced Jacksonville defense attorney to hold the prosecutors to task and make sure that they prove every element of the offense. Click here, or call 904-634-0900 to schedule a free initial consultation today.
See More Blog Posts:
Couple Arrested For Killing Baby With Heroin Filled Baby Bottle, Jacksonville Criminal Attorney Blog, October 15, 2013.
Convicted Murderer Possibly Suffers From New Lethal Injection Concoction, Jacksonville Criminal Attorney Blog, October 24, 2013.