Having a DUI on your record is a legal scar that will not fade over time. In 2013, there were 2,500 DUI cases in Palm Beach County alone. Convictions result in harsh penalties and fines, such as losing your driver’s license for a minimum of 6 months, car impoundment for at least 10 days, up to a year of probation, community service, and DUI school. Fines range between $500 and $2,000, depending on any previous convictions. This is not a pleasant reality, yet for many who are convicted, there is a strong possibility they were wrongfully charged in the first place.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement uses a specific breath measuring device known as the Intoxilyzer 8000 (I-8000) to test BAC levels across all 67 counties. If you are arrested for DUI, you will encounter this machine at the police station. Under Florida implied consent laws, you are required to take the test. If you refuse, your license is suspended for one year. No matter what you choose, there is great potential to face severe penalties without a competent criminal defense attorney on your side.
Issues with the I-8000 in Florida
Since the machine was introduced in 2006, the results have proved faulty due to a number of operational flaws in the machine itself. It requires frequent human interaction to ensure its proper calibration, and is thus a fallible piece of equipment. Issues surrounding the legality of its use have also been uncovered.
The I-8000 is a breath testing machine that uses infrared light absorption, or infrared spectroscopy, to measure breath alcohol. The infrared light passes through your breath sample which is supposed to come from deep lung air. If there are any alcohol molecules in your sample, they absorb radiation from the infrared light. This type of technology measures the difference between the amount of radiation that was emitted in the beginning and the amount that was absorbed. The difference is a measurable amount of alcohol molecules present in the sample.
There are dozens of issues surrounding the faulty product released by manufacturer CMI Inc. To begin with, there are several possible operational errors. The I-8000 is a sensitive piece of equipment and requires a certified operator to properly use it for testing. Oftentimes, human error is to blame for inaccurate readings, as well as environmental factors. The machine also has been shown to incorrectly inflate BAC results by measuring mouth alcohol, which has a higher concentration of alcohol than the deep lung alcohol, which is a more accurate source. The I-8000 also requires a high level of maintenance to ensure its continued accuracy and reliability.
In Florida DUI cases, the goal is to block the test results from entering the courtroom. Prosecutors often struggle to convince a jury that one was under the influence or over the legal limit without the questionable evidence produced by the I-8000. If you have submitted to the breathalyzer test or not, it is in your best interest to speak with attorney Brian Gabriel of Palm Beach County who has been defending DUI cases for over 30 years. Contact The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel to discuss the details of your case at 561-622-5575.