Article Provided by Rittgers & Rittgers
The state of Ohio has purchased 700 new Intoxilyzer 8000 machines designed to measure breath alcohol levels. The Intoxilyzer 8000 is a portable machine that is designed to measure breath alcohol levels, but the machine is prone to error and is unreliable. The Intoxilyzer 8000 has begun to be used in a few counties and is expected to be rolled out statewide by fall 2009. Both the Intoxilyzer 8000 and an earlier version, the Intoxilyzer 5000, have faced a number of legal challenges in other states. Tennessee, after testing the Intoxilyzer 8000 extensively, chose not to use it. Florida, Arizona, Louisiana and Minnesota have all had lawsuits involving the Intoxilyzer. Florida started using the Intoxilyzer 8000 in 2002 and had problems initially because people being tested did not blow enough air into the machine and the machine failed to register the lack of sufficient volume. The problem was subsequently fixed. In all these cases in other states, they have requested that CMI, the company that makes the Intoxilyzer, produce the source code. CMI has resisted producing the source code because they contend it is a trade secret.
Challenging the Intoxilyzer 8000
Despite the difficulties in raising the issue of the reliability of the Intoxilyzer 8000 in Ohio, based on the track record of the device in other states there are bound to be legal challenges. Ohio may be less likely than other states to face lawsuits challenging the Intoxilyzer 8000. The 1984 case of State v. Vega — in which the Ohio Supreme Court held that a defendant in an OVI case may not attack the general reliability and validity of breath taking instruments — still applies.