Fight Over Intoxilyzer 5000 Rages On

Posted On December 13, 2010 by Daniel Koewler

As members of the trial team and lead counsel for the consolidated challenge against the Intoxilyzer 5000, we've spent the last few months working overtime in preparation for the hearing that started on December 8, 2010. We've already presented three days of expert testimony, and aren't even halfway done - but we've already presented substantial evidence that calls into question the "scientific results| that come out of this machine.

1) The Intoxilyzer does not, to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, accurately report alcohol concentrations. For example, an Intoxilyzer test result of .08 does not actually mean, and cannot be used to show, an alcohol concentration of .08.

2) Numerous scientific safeguards that are supposed to ensure that Intoxilyzer results are valid and reliable simply don't work. This includes some shocking revelations, including the fact that the Intoxilyzer just flat out cannot properly measure breath volume, despite claims to the contrary. The Intoxilyzer also reports the presence of alcohol when a totally |clean| air sample is provided. Basic safeguards, like the ability to detect interferents (non-alcohol substances that show up as alcohol), the ability to detect radio frequency interference, and various |self-tests| all fail to work as advertised.

3) Essential components of the Intoxilyzer can be disabled without sending up any red flags. This includes heating elements and interferent detectors that are essential to providing consistent, reliable results.

4) The |slope detector| is shaping up to be about as faulty as we expected. Many people are being charged with |test refusal| because source code errors are reporting otherwise valid samples as |deficient.|

Numerous other flaws have been exposed, all leading towards the final question: can we trust this machine to ensure that our roads remain safe, or is it little more than a |random number generator| that is sending innocent people to jail?

This week we expect to get even more information as we examine several experts from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, as well as experts in breath testing from other States. Stay tuned!