HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. - Breathalyzer tests could soon be thrown out in dozens of DUI cases in Hillsborough County. A local attorney calls the testing machine flawed and he wants the tests removed as evidence.
The machine in question is called the Intoxilyzer 8000. Police use it to test suspects who have been stopped for DUI.
Friday in court, Attorney Eilam Isaak argued the machine has a faulty sensor that gives inaccurate results. Isaak said, "There was a legal issue surrounding the failure of FDLE to test this specific component, the flow sensor."
The FDLE is responsible for maintaining breathalyzer machines and Laura Darfield runs the program. Isaak questioned her about how the machine gets results.
Isaak said, "Is a requirement in some fashion that there be at least 1.1 liters of breath volume to have a valid, reliable sample?"
Barfield replied, "To have a reliable sample? Yes. But, not necessarily to have a reliable test."
Isaak claims air volume is the problem. He says in some cases, the breathalyzer machine isn't getting enough air to produce an accurate reading, and Isaak says FDLE tests are missing the problem.
Isaak said, "They are conducting these tests in very random fashion. They don't do it on a regular basis. They might do it once a year, and the problem is that if this particular component goes out of calibration, there's no way to know it."
Isaak wants the breathalyzer results removed from around thirty of his cases. The state attorney's office would not talk to ABC Action News on camera. But, an attorney assisting the office says breath tests are reliable and produce accurate results.
Isaak says he saw the same thing in Sarasota last year. Breath tests using the Intoxilyzer 8000 were ruled inadmissible in court.
It may be weeks before the two-judge panel reaches a decision.
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