Pasadena DUI Breathalyzer Machines: Could They Be Next on the Chopping Block?

Attorneys and pundits who follow news about Pasadena DUI (and DUI throughout the country) are keeping a keen eye on Sarasota County, Florida, where an otherwise boring and workaday DUI trial may have profound implications for the use of DUI breath tests in Florida – and perhaps, indirectly, Southern California (e.g. Pasadena DUI, Burbank DUI, Los Angeles DUI, and Glendale DUI).Intoxilyzer-8000.jpg

At issue is whether the Intoxilyzer 8000, a breath test machine that Florida troopers use exclusively, generates scientifically sound results.

According to an article in the Herald Tribune, “A five-year legal dispute over the machine has left prosecutors in Sarasota and Manatee counties unable to use Intoxilyzer 8000 test results to trial without bringing experts to prove the machine is scientifically sound… if prosecutors prevail, the hearing could save one of the most powerful pieces of evidence in DUI trials… but if not, prosecutors may not be able to use alcohol breath test in DUI trials, making it harder to prove cases or get DUI pleads.”

As this blog has reported, the Intoxilyzer 8000 is not the only breath test machine under fire recently. Both Southern California DUI breathalyzers and Vermont breathalyzers have come under heavy fire this year.

The Sarasota case has some very interesting details. The defendant, Felicia Bridwell, is a 25-year-old who was stopped last August. She admitted to having consumed two glasses of wine – “one at dinner and one at home” and performed her field sobriety tests adequately. But her Intoxilyzer results measured her BAC at 0.10% – greater than the 0.08% that marks the cut-off for Southern Florida and Southern California DUI. Her reaction was astonished and nonplussed: “Are you serious? Are you serious? I didn’t pass the test?”

Now, of course, just because certain breathalyzer tests are faulty doesn’t mean that no one drives DUI. It just means that the tests may be far more flawed than most people realize. Depending on whether you have certain diseases or conditions; whether you blow hard or soft into the machine; whether the machine is properly calibrated; and probably dozens of other factors, your reading may be higher or lower than your actual, real world BAC level.

Who knows how this campaign to demand accountability from our breathalyzer machines will end? Clearly, we need two things:

1. A way for authorities to better analyze BAC readings, so drivers get treated more fairly.
2. Creative, sensible solutions to eliminate or at least limit bad and dangerous driving behaviors.

These two aims may not be exclusive.

On the practical side, a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, such as Michael Kraut of Pasadena’s Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers (790 East Colorado Boulevard, 9th floor, Pasadena, California 91101 Phone: (626) 345-1899), can give you clearheaded, strategically sound advice about how to build your Pasadena DUI defense. Mr. Kraut has the experience, track record, reputation, and compassion to meet your needs.

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Pasadena or you are under investigation for driving under the influence in Southern California, please contact Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Michael Kraut for 24/7 assistance by phone at (323) 464-6453 or toll free at (888) 334-6344 or online.

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