Possibly hundreds of DUI cases in PBC up for debate after results of breath tests questioned

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. -- Several DUI cases, possibly hundreds of them, could soon be up for debate in Palm Beach County.

That's according to a South Florida defense attorney who has filed several motions claiming the DUI breath test used throughout the state is unreliable.

This isn't the first time attorney Brian Gabriel has gone after the accuracy of the breath tests, but this time, he says a tiny hole is the source of an entirely new problem.

The majority of people charged with driving under the influence are taken to the county's Breath Alcohol Testing Center and blow into what's called the Intoxilyzer 8000.

The machine uses breath to gauge intoxication.

Gabriel said an adjustment made to the machine in 2006 was done without going through the proper channels, leaving its results, he says, useless in court.

"The problem is, the rules and the laws of this state, if the manufacturer makes a change they have to notify the department and it has to go through an evaluation process," he said.

Gabriel showed photos of the tiny hole drilled into part of the machine to make it work properly.  He said it is then covered by a small plate. 

According to Gabriel, it was all done without the required approval.

"A machine is not working properly if you have to put a hole into it and when they did put a hole in it, they did not follow the black letter law," he added.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement calls the hole a check valve.

A spokesperson said the machine works exactly how it should but couldn't speak to the installation process.

"The FDLE and the manufacturer made every step to keep this secret, never disclosed it, never put it in writing, they put a plate on top of the whole to cover it up," Gabriel said.

Alan Triggs, an attorney for CMI INC, the machine's manufacturer, said, "there is pending litigation in Southern Florida regarding this very issue. It is CMI's policy not to discuss issues that are currently being litigated."
       
Some counties in Florida don't allow the machine's results into court, but the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office says the Intoxilyzer 8000 generates accurate results.

Gabriel hopes to hold a meeting with the judges that deal with these cases, explaining how he wants the machine's results thrown out, or for the machine to be properly approved.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments

Read More

Ashley Taylor Wright threw her baby at a deputy at Pensacola Dillards, Okaloosa County police say Ashley Taylor Wright threw her baby at a deputy at Pensacola Dillards, Okaloosa County police say

A Pensacola woman, Ashley Taylor Wright, has been arrested after authorities say they tried arrest her for shoplifting and she threw the baby at a deputy as she tried to escape.

Stephen Amaral robbed while naked swimming woman distracts him Stephen Amaral robbed while naked swimming woman distracts him

A Tennessee man found this out the hard way when a woman dipped in his pool, naked, as her husband robbed his home.

Giant purple chicken stolen in Putnam County, three men charged with grand theft Giant purple chicken stolen in Putnam County, three men charged with grand theft

Putnam County investigators say it was "fowl" play when three young men stole a giant chicken.

Invisible man in Fort Pierce prefers his stolen cigarettes mentholated Invisible man in Fort Pierce prefers his stolen cigarettes mentholated

A man in Fort Pierce said he used his "powers of invisibility" to abscond with a carton of menthol cigarettes, but his conscience appears to have gotten the best of him.

David John Sirko: Suspected burglar left love notes, photos of underwear on head, deputies say David John Sirko: Suspected burglar left love notes, photos of underwear on head, deputies say

A Golden Gate Estates, Florida man was arrested Monday after Collier County sheriff's deputies say he broke into a woman's house, left her love notes and took photos of himself with her underwear on his head.

Randy Zipperer mac and cheese dispute: Florida man accused of stabbing brother after food disapears Randy Zipperer mac and cheese dispute: Florida man accused of stabbing brother after food disapears

Authorities say two Florida brothers got into a tussle over missing macaroni and cheese that ended with one stabbing the other in the stomach.

Walmart wedding: Wayne and Susan Brandenburg get married at Shallotte, North Carolina store Walmart wedding: Wayne and Susan Brandenburg get married at Shallotte, North Carolina store

For years, Wayne Brandenburg shopped at his local Wal-Mart three or four times a week. He never thought he'd pick up a wife, or marry her, there. But that's exactly what happened.

Man jumps on manatees video: YouTube, Facebook video posting investigated by wildlife officials Man jumps on manatees video: YouTube, Facebook video posting investigated by wildlife officials

Video of a man jumping on two manatees prompts legal investigation.

Filomena Tobias flips off Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls player, paper reports Filomena Tobias flips off Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls player, paper reports

The woman has been identified as Filomena Tobias, widow of CNBC commentator Seth Tobias, of Jupiter.

Etta Lopez accused of slapping deputy to help her quit smoking; charged with assualting an officer Etta Lopez accused of slapping deputy to help her quit smoking; charged with assualting an officer

California woman slaps sheriff's deputy to quit smoking