A ruling in the Minnesota Supreme Court has made a serious headache for prosecutors across the state. The headache stems from DWI breath tests done with Intoxilyzer equipment. The Supreme Court agreed that prosecutors should turn over the source code to this equipment if the defendant requests it. The problem with that is, the prosecution doesn’t have the source code.
The source code is a sort of computer language used in the Intoxilyzer equipment. These machines are manufactured by a Kentucky company that insists the source code is a trade secret and won’t divulge the information. Because of this, many cases hinging on breath test evidence could be jeopardized for the prosecution.
Minnesota isn’t the first state to have issue with obtaining source code. Many states across the country utilize the Intoxilyzers and many have run into the same predicament.
As this article from the Pioneer Press states, there are other methods of processing DUI evidence for blood alcohol levels. Unfortunately the labs responsible for evaluating blood and urine tests are so backlogged, an additional influx of evidence won’t help the matter at all.
The reason defense attorneys are requesting the source code in the first place is to determine if these breath test results are, in fact, accurate measurements of blood alcohol levels. Many experts have stated the machines are flawed and prone to faulty readings. Establishing their reliability should be the burden of the prosecution and without the source code this proves nearly impossible.
If you have ever been charged with a DWI you know the police and prosecution might give you a field sobriety test followed by a breathalyzer. Up until this point the majority of DUI cases hinge on the results of the breath test. These results, until recently, we almost always assumed accurate. Faulty blood alcohol readings could make DUI cases extremely hard for prosecutors to prove.
If you are currently facing a DUI and need the help of an experienced DUI attorney, call us today to discuss your case.