DUI and the Media

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on March 11th, 2006

The media, whether out of ignorance or a pro-MADD agenda, consistently misrepresents DUI issues — and in the process often displays a frightening ignorance of (or diregard for) the Constitution.


DUI LAWYER TACTIC: CHALLENGE THE BREATH TEST

MIAMI, March 5  AP - Timothy Muldowny’s lawyers decided on an unconventional approach to fight his drunken driving case: They sought computer programming information for the Intoxilyzer alcohol breath analysis machine that determined he was drunk to see whether the test was accurate.

Their strategy paid off.

The company that makes the Intoxilyzer refused to reveal the computer source code for its machine because it was a trade secret. A Seminole County judge tossed out Muldowny’s alcohol breath test, a crucial piece of evidence in a DUI case, and the ruling was upheld by an appeals court in 2004.

Since then, DUI suspects in Florida, New York, Nebraska and elsewhere have mounted similar challenges. Many have won or have had their DUI charges reduced to lesser offenses. The strategy could affect thousands of the roughly 1.5 million DUI arrests made each year in the United States, defense lawyers say…

�It seems to us that one should not have privileges and freedom jeopardized by the results of a mystical machine that is immune from discovery, the 5th District Court of Appeal ruled in Muldowny’s case, which resulted in his charges being reduced to reckless driving.


Apparently, investigating whether a machine which determines guilt or innocence was accurate or not is suddenly a "new DUI lawyer tactic", an "unconventional approach", and a "strategy" which "pays off" if they are stonewalled.  Worse, we are now faced with the horror of 1.5 million DUI arrests each year being thrown out — all because of those darned DUI lawyers!  Why can’t we just trust these breath machines?

On the other hand, what is the real reason why the manufacturers won’t reveal the secrets of how these gizmos spit out blood-alcohol readings?  And if the manufacturers of the different models each use their own "trade secrets", are they all equally accurate? How would we know?

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