In order to check individuals who are suspected of driving while under the influence, law enforcement in West Palm Beach administers a breath test known as the Intoxilyzer. The Intoxilyzer takes a sample of a person’s breath and, through science, technology, computer programming and infrared spectrum, it is able to isolate the amount of alcohol molecules in a person’s breath and give them a result as it fares to a blood alcohol level.
The machine measures the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood by measuring the amount of alcohol that is in the person’s breath and then relating that to the amount that correlates to the person’s blood. If an individual wants to know more about the Intoxilyzer and the West Palm Beach DUI breath testing device requirements that it must meet in order for a sample to be valid, they should speak with a knowledgeable attorney that can answer their questions and help them challenge their breath test results if necessary.
Requirements a Testing Device Must Meet
In order to meet West Palm Beach DUI breath testing device requirements, the Intoxilyzer needs to be registered with the state of Florida. That is number one. Number two, it needs to be maintained or inspected once a year by the state of Florida. All of those need to be documented. In addition to being registered and inspected on an annual basis, it must go through monthly maintenance. Typically, the law enforcement agency has one person that is in charge of all the maintenance, not one on each machine, and the person that does the maintenance; it is their job to sign off on the monthly maintenance.
The monthly maintenance requires putting the machine through a battery of tests with quantifiably known sample amounts and they will put a sample on those and if they know that a sample is 0.05 then they will run it on the machine to make sure that the machine is properly calibrated. They do a 0.05, a 0.10 and a 0.20 and they have each done three times. Each of those known samples are put through the machine three times just to test the accuracy and reliability of the results. Once the machine has been registered, inspected, and maintained then they look at the operator to make sure that they are properly trained and certified to operate the Intoxilyzer. They need a permit issued by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in order for them to operate the machine and be qualified to do so.
Following the 20-Minute Rule
Assuming that the machine is properly registered, inspected, maintained and the person who is operating the machine is properly qualified and licensed to do so, a person can administer an Intoxilyzer, but first, they must carry out a final step. One of the last West Palm Beach DUI breath testing device requirements is that before a person gives a breath test, law enforcement must make sure that the person to be tested is free of any contaminants.
This is oftentimes called the 20-Minute Rule. The 20-Minute Rule means that law enforcement has to watch the client or watch the DUI suspect for at least 20 minutes to make sure that they do not eat, drink, cough, burp, regurgitate or vomit or put anything in their mouth that might contaminate their breath or the breath sample that would make the test sample contaminated and thus disqualify the results as inaccurate and unreliable.
The steps that the officers need to take are in place to make sure that the person does not contaminate themselves and does not drink or eat anything, et cetera, and then they need to make sure that the mouthpiece that is used the instrument is a fresh new mouthpiece that does not have any saliva or breath or any other remnants in there. Every test gets a new mouthpiece and then they need to make sure that the person who is given a test is giving an adequate sample of breath in order to get the instrument to measure the alcohol in a person’s system. If an individual feels like any of these standards have not been met, and wishes to contest the results of their exam, they should consult a skilled DUI lawyer that could help.