Miscalibrated Breathalyzers Result in DUI Cases Being Thrown Out

If a driver is convicted of DUI and has his or her drivers license revoked on the basis of a failed blood test, there may be some relief available. The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled last week that a lack of prescribed maintenance of the Intoxilyzer 8000 used to determine the blood alcohol concentration of an Oklahoma driver invalidated the failed breath test used to revoke his license. While the court's ruling could have a significant impact on the number of DUI license suspensions called into question, many of the cases were already addressed under a previous ruling that resulted in the dismissal of hundreds of Oklahoma DUI cases. The director of the Oklahoma Board of Tests for Alcohol and Drug Influence says that the agency addressed problems with Intoxilyzer maintenance after the initial court ruling, and he says that policies and machines are now in compliance with the law. Poor maintenance of breath test machines is nothing new. In 2010 in the nation's capital, thousands of DUI cases were reopened after a defense attorney found that there were no records of local police ever performing maintenance on the department's breathalzyer machines, which were subsequently determined to be miscalibrated. The same thing happened in Pennsylvania in 2011 and in Florida in 2012. DUI in Oklahoma is a per se offense. Once a driver is determined to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater, he or she is determined to be driving under the influence or impaired by alcohol, even if he or she exhibits no other signs of impairment. Without other signs of impairment, a driver's license can be suspended for DUI on the basis of a breath test alone, and breath test results are instrumental in a DUI conviction. However, as cases around the nation demonstrate, a failed breath test alone should not be considered complete evidence, particularly in light of law enforcement's failure to adequately maintain the machines and to ensure that the Intoxilyzer machines are appropriately calibrated to provide an accurate reading of one's blood alcohol concentration. This is important for anyone arrested for DUI to keep in mind. If you refuse to submit to a breath test, your license will automatically be revoked, whether or not you are subsequently convicted of DUI. While evidence of a failed breath test may be a challenge for a DUI defense lawyer, it is not necessarily insurmountable, particularly if the lawyer can find evidence of malfunctioning, miscalibrated, or inadequately maintained equipment. If you are arrested for DUI, call a defense lawyer at once. Your attorney can help you get out of jail and can offer sound legal counsel and aggressive representation to bring the best possible outcome to your case.