2017/06/30 Breath Tests and How They May Impact Your DUI or DWAI Case

Denver criminal defense lawyers specializing in drunk driving cases are questioning the validity of thousands of DUI and DWAI convictions after a state technician who certified the Intoxilyzer 9000 breath-test machines said his signature was forged on more than 100 records on file with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

The CDPHE validates, certifies and maintains the Intoxilyzer 9000, which is used to test the blood-alcohol content of every suspected drunk driver in Colorado. Those certifications are used in DUI and DWAI trials to prove machines are recording accurate blood-alcohol content.  The certifications are important to DUI and DWAI suspects and their attorneys because prosecutors, judges and juries rely heavily on the results of alcohol breath-tests when weighing verdicts and punishments.  Denver criminal defense attorneys say the breath machines should have been calibrated and validated by trained technicians, and the certifications should have been signed by the person who conducted the tests.

In a rush in 2013 to deploy the machines to police and sheriffs, the CDPHE brought in a lawyer and a marketing specialist from the Intoxilyzer 9000’s manufacturer and a department intern to validate and certify the machines.  These individuals used the name and signature of a CDPHE technician to certify the machines worked correctly, even though that technician had not examined each machine.  In addition, a former employee’s signature was still being used on certification documents more than a year after she left the CDPHE in July, 2015.  This has led to concerns regarding whether the machines were ever functioning properly.  The CDPHE has said calibrations and verifications were conducted by the appropriate personnel or under their supervision, and that the machines are revalidated and recertified every year.

Colorado Courts are handling the results of breath tests differently in each county.  Some counties have found the breath tests are reliable and have admitted them at trial.  One county has dismissed more than 30 DUI cases after an Intoxilyzer 9000 was found to be unreliable, while other counties have excluded the breath tests from trial but have not dismissed the case.  Having an experienced Pollart Miller attorney on your side is essential to defending a DUI or DWAI.

Would you like to know more?  Contact Jake Johnson at jjohnson@pollartmiller.com or 720-488-9586.  [Jake Johnson]

2017-06-30T13:18:05+00:00