Illustration from an early edition of Moby-Dick

An Athens County judge’s ruling in an OVI case has opened the door for defense attorneys to challenge the Intoxilyzer 8000 in court and may signal the death of a controversial 1984 Supreme Court decision which ruled that the machines were not open to challenges from accused defendants.  Judge William A. Grim found that while the Intoxilyzer’s results do meet the minimum standard for admissibility, defense attorneys should be allowed, on a case-by-case basis, to use expert witnesses to attack the results.  Judge Grim also found reason to suspect that radio interference from cellphones can skew the Intoxilyzer’s results and that an officer administering a breath-test can drive up blood-alcohol numbers by having the suspect blow into the machine for a longer time.

According the the cited story in the Columbus Dispatch, “[t]he State Highway Patrol has given its posts the option of using an older breath-testing machine while the legal issues are worked out, spokeswoman Lt. Anne Ralston said.”  In Pickaway County last month, Judge Gary Dumm of Circleville Municipal Court ruled that test results from the Intoxilyzer 8000 will not be admitted in his court until the state can present proof that the machine’s technology is sound. (See Columbus Dispatch story HERE and the blog articles below).

Needless to say, I join every other DUI attorney in applauding this result.  It speaks highly of our justice system that we can allow the truth to prevail in our courts.  I have long dreamed about writing an article wherein I can say that DUI defendants have won the right to use science in their defense.  This is a momentous day.