Effective immediately, the Intoxilizer 9000 is replacing the DataMaster DMT as Michigan’s new breath test instrument. If you are arrested for DUI in Michigan, the chances are good your breath will be tested on a 9000. If you were over the legal limit, then keep in mind that a top DUI lawyer can beat breath test results in court.
However, for a short period of time, both breath alcohol test instruments will be used. Consequently, depending on the date and time of your evidential breath alcohol test, the police may have used the outdated DMT. If this is true in your case, then be sure to hire a top DUI defense lawyer to represent you. Breath test results rendered by the DMT are inherently untrustworthy. See this article if you are not sure how to find a top Michigan DUI lawyer.
This change to the 9000 is primarily due to the age of the DMTs currently in service. Also, the inability to obtain parts for this older equipment, and MSPs desire to employ newer technology. The Intoxilizer 9000 is widely used across the United States and is often relied upon by law enforcement agencies to determine whether an individual is legally intoxicated.
How the Intoxilizer 9000 Works
The Intoxilizer 9000 uses infrared technology to detect the presence of alcohol in the breath of an individual being tested. The device measures the amount of infrared light that is absorbed by the breath sample. The more infrared light that is absorbed, the higher the corresponding blood alcohol level.
The device is designed to be very precise and accurate. Its calibration will be checked with each breath test sequence. The 9000 uses a dry gas standard for this purpose. In addition, the device is designed to be very easy to use, and it can be operated by law enforcement officers with minimal training.
For a more extensive explanation about infrared breath testing and the inner workings of the 9000, see Michigan DUI lawyer Patrick Barone and Michael Boyle’s article entitled Introducing the Intoxilyzer 9000, Michigan’s New Breath Test Instrument.
Possible Issues with Reliability and Accuracy
While the 9000 breath test instrument is designed to be reliable, like all measuring devices, it is not bulletproof. In fact, there are a number of factors that can affect the reliability and accuracy of the Intoxilizer 9000.
Don’t plead guilty until after your top DUI lawyer has reviewed the evidence in your case. Otherwise, important defenses can be missed. Defenses that can be the difference between guilty and not guilty.
One of the biggest issues is the fact that the device measures the amount of alcohol in the breath, rather than the amount of alcohol in the blood. This means that the results of the breath test can be affected by a number of factors. These include the person’s breathing patterns, their lung capacity, and the temperature and humidity of the air.
All of these things impact partition ratio. The 9000 assumes your partition ratio is 2100/1 but the range is closer to 900-3800 depending on the scientific literature consulted.
The device can also be affected by the presence of other substances in the breath. Such interferents might include mouthwash, breath mints, exposure to certain organic volatiles, or certain medical conditions. These substances can interfere with the accuracy of the device and can cause the BAC reading to be artificially high.
It should be noted that CMI, the manufacturer of the device, claims that its four filters assure that no breath test contamination has occurred. They also claim their instrument is accurate up to .003 of the test result.
Another issue with the Intoxilizer 9000 is that it relies on a calibration process to ensure that it is working properly. The device must be calibrated on a regular basis in order to ensure that it is providing accurate results. However, if the device is not calibrated properly, or if it is not maintained properly, it can produce inaccurate results.
Litigation in Other States
There have been a number of legal challenges to the reliability and accuracy of the device. In many cases, these challenges have been successful, and the results of the breath tests administered by the Intoxilizer 9000 have been thrown out.
One of the most significant legal challenges to the Intoxilizer 9000 occurred in Minnesota in 2013. In that case, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the results of breath tests administered by the Intoxilizer 5000EN, a predecessor to the Intoxilizer 9000, were not admissible in court. The court ruled that the device was not reliable enough to be used as evidence in criminal cases, and that the results of the tests were not accurate enough to support a conviction.
Similar legal challenges have occurred in other states, including Florida, Texas, and New Jersey. In some cases, the courts have ruled that the Intoxilizer 9000 is a reliable and accurate device, and that the results of breath tests administered by the device are admissible in court. However, in other cases, the courts have ruled that the device is not reliable enough to be used as evidence in criminal cases, and that the results of the tests are not accurate enough to support a conviction.
Look for similar litigation to occur here in Michigan. And be sure to contact a top Michigan DUI lawyer at the Barone Defense Firm for your free no obligation consultation.