Judge Rejects Argument That Florida DUI Law is Unconstitutional

The assaults keep coming on Florida’s flawed DUI law, and our Fort Lauderdale DUI defense lawyers hope that one day defendants will see major changes to help uphold their rights.

In Naples recently, lawyers argued that the state’s DUI law is unconstitutional because defendants aren’t allowed to have the technology behind breath testing machines that are used statewide.
It’s a legitimate argument. In any other type of case, the defendant is allowed access to all aspects of the evidence against him or her. In murder cases, for instance, the defendant gets all the reports that lab workers generate when they test DNA. They have access to the workers themselves to question them about their tactics. In cases where ballistics are tested to determine if a weapon is consistent with the bullets found at the scene, all of that evidence is made available.

But in a DUI case in Fort Lauderdale, easily the most commonly filed charge in Florida and nationwide, key pieces of evidence aren’t made available to the person whose liberty is on the line.

The breath testing machines used in Florida — the Intoxilyzer 8000 — have been challenged for years. In recent years, DUI defense lawyers have been able to convince judges to order the breathalyzer’s manufacturer to hand over its schematics to lawyers for examination, but the Kentucky company has been slow to respond.

Prosecutors on the state’s west coast have dropped charges in cases where the machines were used by police and deputies because they equipment delivers readings that appear to be unbelievable. In some cases, the amount of breath measured by suspects was more than the combined lung capacity of a normal human being. It’s obvious there are issues, and possibly problems with past cases that were never discovered.

According to The News-Press in Fort Myers, a Naples lawyer recently argued that the law should be thrown out because the law doesn’t allow for defendants to get information on how the breathalyzers work. The machines are used in most DUI cases statewide.

The judge denied the attorney’s motion but ordered the Kentucky company to provide records about the machine. But, the attorney can’t share the information with other lawyers or anyone other than experts in the case.

Other judges statewide have made similar rulings in order to protect trade secrets. Ultimately, this will end up being a waste of time and resources because lawyers statewide can just make similar arguments and before long, every DUI defense lawyer in the state will have the information.

But at least judges are coming around. It’s about time that DUI defendants in Florida have their rights upheld and have access to all the evidence against them. Even if it takes time, it is necessary. These cases are too important to allow the state to have an advantage in sending people to jail or prison.

These are important issues that will likely shape Florida’s DUI law for years to come. These breath tests can be beaten because they are flawed. An experienced Fort Lauderdale DUI defense lawyer will work to ensure all aspects of the state’s case is properly vetted for his or her clients.

If you are arrested in Fort Lauderdale or elsewhere in South Florida, contact Leifert & Leifert at 954-523-9600 or 561-988-8000 for a free consultation.

More Blog Entries:

Thanksgiving Holiday Traffic Expected to Spike, While West Palm Beach Police Step up DUI Patrols: November 23, 2011
UM Student, Police Officer Charged With DUI Manslaughter On Same Coral Gables Street: October 27, 2011
Additional Resources:

Fla. DUI law withstands appeal, by Denes Husty III, The News-Press

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