Tag Archives: science in the courtroom

I Did Not Refuse!

ACT Police Breath Testing/Command truck

If you were tested on an Intoxilyzer 5000 breath test machine, the source-code (software inside the machine) may have been rigged against you.  One of the most dramatic happenings in the science of a DUI has been the developments of the source-code battle taking place in Minnesota.  Ohio has recently rejected the Ohio-made BAC DataMaster in favor of the Intoxilyzer breath test machine (often referred to as the Intoxi-LIAR) so we can soon expect similar science-based battles in the Buckey State.

Chuck Ramsay, a DWI attorney in Minnesota has been litigating the reliability of the Intoxilyzer 5000 for several years.  Recently in Minnesota a Court has held that the machine cannot be used to prove that a person refused to give a sample.  The idea of the machine is that a person must blow a certain amount of air thru the machine for a certain length of time.  If not, the machine classifies the non sample as a “deficient” sample.

Few people realize that Judge Abrams did not find that all test results are admissible. He actually highlighted the fatal errors in the source code that wrongly reject perfectly valid samples, stating that, “In cases in which the Intoxilyzer 5000EN … reported a ‘Deficient Sample,’ the Source Code of the instrument does impact the reliability, solely, of this result. Evidence in such cases of a ‘Deficient Sample’ test report should not be allowed ….”

In the order’s Conclusion, the court indicates the machine reports a deficient sample even when the sample is not actually deficient.

There is one limited situation, as discussed earlier, in which the labeling of a sample as “deficient” arises from multiple causes. At least one of these causes is a consequence of the Source Code’s instructions to the microprocessors and has little, if anything, to do with whether the sample is actually deficient.

Under my cross examination, BCA experts were forced to openly admit that the current version of the source code has more than three times the number of deficient samples as the prior version. According to the BCA’s own data, hundreds of drivers each year who provide a sample greater than 1.1 liters are deemed to have provided a deficient sample!

Like Minnesota, it is an offense in Ohio to refuse to give a breath sample.  In many circumstances, an officer who sees the machine register a “deficient sample” will mark the case as a refusal and the innocent client will face harsher penalties.  If you, or a loved one, are arrested for DUI in Ohio do you trust that the Intoxilyzer will properly “guess” in your favor?  Do you think that “close enough for government work” should replace the traditional American values of Innocent Until Proven Guilty, or Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt?  We at DaytonDUI will keep fighting for you.