Besides being inaccurate, Intoxilyzer machines break down frequently.
Last year Kaufman County’s DWI breath test machine was taken out of service. Here is what happened.
Breath test machines are never calibrated on humans. By that, I mean that you don’t have a human take a breath then a blood test to see if the machine is accurrate. Instead we rely on reference sample solutions. These solutions are designed for the machine to report a 08 bac.
Horseshoes, Hand Grenades, and Breath Test Machines
In this case the machine was given a reference sample to analyze. What should the machine score a .08 sample to be verified as fit for service? After all, we are convicting Texans with this machine. How accurate should this state’s witness have to be?
If you guessed .08 you’d be wrong. Reading from .073 to .087 are acceptable. Good enough for government work.
This particular machine broke down on 1/9/07. What happened to the DWI defendants from the days and weeks before? Did they receive a letter that the machine was broken? Cases dismissed maybe?
Nope. Unless they subpoenad these records, or filed an open records request, these defendants would have never known they blew into a broken machine.