Investigation finds breathalyzer tests unreliable
SARASOTA- A New York Times investigation finds the standard alcohol breath tests found at law enforcement agencies throughout the country are often unreliable, and often thrown out of court. If you get pulled over for drunk driving in Florida you’re blowing into the Intoxilyzer 8000.
“It has been the subject of a tremendous amount of litigation all over the country,” Hudson said. “There are some states that have simply refused to accept it because it wasn’t reliable, but it’s good enough for Florida.”
DUI Defense Attorney Tom Hudson says they’ve been fighting over the machines problems since 2005.
“I’ll be honest with you it usually works,” Hudson said. “The question is would you trust your career to an alarm clock that usually works, if you’re the person that it didn’t’ work for that’s pretty important to you.”
Diabetics commonly see false positive, because their bodies burn fat instead of sugar.
“Well if a diabetic is burning fat that metabolizes into acetone” Hudson said. “Well the machine can be fooled into think that that acetone is alcohol.”
Hudson says one of the biggest problems is that they can’t conduct independent testing of the machines.
“True science replicable, it is transparent, it is objective,” Hudson said. “Well if you try to buy an intoxilyzer 8000 they will not sell it to you, they will not sell the machine to the defense community, because they don’t want us to be able to examine it.”
Hudson says you may want to think twice before taking your first breathalyzer test.
“If you really have had legitimately one or two beers or one or two drinks then yeah go ahead and take it,” Hudson said. “But if you are not absolutely sure that you are under the limit then the best thing to do is to not subject yourself to a faulty and defective technology.”
But it is a crime to refuse the test more than once.