Problems with Breathalyzer Machines Reach Far Beyond D.C.

Posted on: August 25th, 2011  |  No Comments

The New York Times featured an interesting Q&A with Minnesota Defense Attorney Ryan Pacyga regarding a new challenge in front of the Minnesota Supreme Court, to DUI convictions based on results generated by the Intoxilyzer 5000EN machine used by law enforcement agencies across the state.

Q: How long do you believe there has been a problem with the Intoxilyzer, and what made people look into it?

A:The suspicion started a long time ago. The more air you blow into the machine, the higher the alcohol rate it registers…The other thing is is this machine uses a control. [It] knows what the control [solution level] is and it still isn’t measuring it right…It may be acceptable to the state, but if you are a defendant, it’s not so cool.

Ryan Pacyga via The New York Times



Thousands of defendants across the country face convictions, or have already been convicted, based on results from faulty machines. Often, the law enforcement is aware that the machines are faulty yet the machines are used to prosecute DWI and DUI crimes. With challenges like this, and the on going battles in the District of Columbia, defendants stand a better chance at a fair trial, and law enforcement will finally be tasked with developing new, more accurate means of identifying drunk drivers, rather than relying on inaccurate, antiquated devices that continue to plague our justice system.

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