Breathalyzers are computerized devices which contain software that captures the amount of light absorbed in the sample and determines whether someone has alcohol in their system, and if so, what level it reaches.
Breathalyzers are commonly used by Fort Lauderdale police officers to measure a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) levels when they are suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. If you want to know more about breathalyzers in Ft. Lauderdale DUI cases, speak with a determined DUI lawyer that can answer your questions, and build your defense.
Florida Law Enforcement and Breathalyzer Use
Florida limits that level at .08 percent for adults in most situations. Law enforcement officials then use those samples to prosecute DUI offenders in court and initiate the administrative suspension of an individual’s driver’s license by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Florida currently uses a breathalyzer machine known as the Intoxilyzer 8000, which is the only approved device at this time. It has been used in Florida for nearly two decades, but there is always the possibility that new technologies, manufacturers offering lower prices, or any other reason could result in the use of a different breathalyzer machine.
While any type of machine can break or malfunction, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) requires law enforcement officials who use breathalyzers (which essentially includes most Florida police forces including Fort Lauderdale) to substantially comply with the numerous rules and regulations which have been enacted regarding how breathalyzers are administered, inspected, and maintained.
This is important as one of the key legal defenses in a DUI charge is whether the breathalyzer worked correctly or was administered properly. Since the FDLE only requires substantial compliance – which is something less than full compliance – DUI defense attorneys nearly always review the facts and circumstances surrounding breathalyzer use first. Contact an attorney for more defenses related to breathalyzers in Ft. Lauderdale DUI cases.
Controversy Surrounding the Use of Breathalyzers in DUI Cases
Despite the numerous rules and regulations imposed by the FDLE, breathalyzers continue to be a source of controversy in Florida – mainly whether they work properly, provide an accurate BAC level that should be used to convict someone of a DUI, and whether Florida law enforcement officials should continue using the Intoxilyzer 8000 or a different instrument should take its place. Ironically, many of the complaints surrounding the use of breathalyzers in Ft. Lauderdale DUI cases – whether founded or unfounded – center around the FDLE’s violation of its own rules.
Consequences for Refusing to Submit to a Breathalyzer Test
Refusing to submit to a Florida breathalyzer test can have serious consequences. While penalties for refusing the test a first time are minimal, subsequent refusals are treated as criminal offenses which can result in fines and up to a year in the Broward County jail.
Challenging Florida breathalyzer results in court are common and often focus on whether it was:
- Working properly at the time of testing
- Administered according to FDLE regulations by police officers
- Calibrated and functioning properly during its maintenance monthly and yearly FDLCE inspections
Law Enforcement Complying With FDLE Regulations
Officers in Fort Lauderdale and Broward County must comply with FDLE regulations and keep accurate and detailed records of maintenance for thousands of breathalyzer instruments and how they were utilized by an individual police officer in a specific situation.
That can often prove to be problematic and it can be very difficult to challenge any one – or all – of the above by both prosecutors and defense attorneys. While many believe that breathalyzers are far from perfect, the fact remains that they are used by most Florida police forces to convict those who drive under the influence.
Contacting a Ft. Lauderdale DUI Lawyer
If you want to know more about breathalyzers in Ft. Lauderdale DUI cases, speak with a knowledgeable attorney. A lawyer can answer any questions you may have about breathalyzers. Furthermore, they can look at the results of your breathalyzer exam and, if there is any reason to believe that the results are incorrect, an attorney can incorporate that into your defense. Contact a DUI lawyer and rest assured that you are in capable hands.