In Tampa Florida, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office measures a driver’s breath-alcohol level by using a machine called an Intoxilyzer 8000.
According to the Florida Supreme Court, in order for the Intoxilyzer results to be admissible in court, the prosecutor must prove:
- The test was administered substantially in accordance with state regulations.
- The police used a machine approved by the State of Florida.
- A person with a valid breath test operator permit administered the test.
- The machine was calibrated, tested, and inspected in accordance with Florida regulations.
There are a variety of questions to answer in each case in which a breath sample was taken, including:
Did the police comply with the 20-minute observation?
Florida regulations require that law enforcement observe the driver for at least 20 minutes before the driver provides a breath sample to ensure that he or she does not put anything in their mouth or regurgitate. For example if a person burps, vomits, or even hiccups, alcohol from their stomach could enter their mouth. Because the Intoxilyzer is designed to test air from the lungs, alcohol in the person’s mouth could cause an inaccurately high reading.
Did the Florida Department of Law Enforcement conduct a yearly inspection of the Intoxilyzer?
In order for results from an Intoxilyzer 8000 to be admissible in a Florida Court, the prosecutor must prove that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducted a yearly inspection of the machine.
Did the police or sheriff’s department conduct a monthly inspection of the Intoxilyzer?
In order for results from an Intoxilyzer 8000 to be admissible in a Florida Court, the prosecutor must prove that the police or sheriff’s department using the machine inspected it monthly.
If during the FDLE or agency inspections the Intoxilyzer showed malfunctions or irregularities, did the State take the proper steps to examine and repair the Intoxilyzer?
Conducting the proper inspections is not enough. If a malfunction or irregularity arose, the State must show that the problem was investigated and corrected.
Was there was difference of greater than .02 between the first breath sample and the second breath sample?
When a person submits to a breath test, he or she gives two breath samples that are analyzed separately. If the difference between the first and second sample is greater than .02, the Intoxilyzer operator must collect a third sample or the results may be inadmissible in court.
Were the two breath tests conducted within 15 minutes of each other?
When a person submits to a breath test, he or she gives two breath samples, which must be taken within 15 minutes of one another. If the samples were taken more than 15 minutes apart, the results may be inadmissible in court.
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Tampa Attorney David C. Hardy is a former DUI prosecutor that now represents persons accused of DUI. He is Board Certified by the Florida Bar and the National Board of Trial Advocacy as an Expert in Criminal Trial Law. As a prosecutor and defense attorney, he has extensive experience handling all types of DUI cases.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI in Hillsborough County Florida, Pinellas County Florida, or Pasco County Florida, Attorney David C. Hardy has the knowledge, skills, and experience to guide you through this process and obtain the best possible results.