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Faulty DUI Test Results in Wrongful Drunk Driving Convictions

When Florida police stop a driver that they suspect of drunk driving they conduct a sobriety test on site. Conducting more than one test may become more important in Florida because problems associated with breathalyzers in Florida have potentially led to faulty convictions.

The sobriety test typically comes in three different forms. In one test the police have the driver stand on one leg or walk in a straight line and turn. This allows the police to assess the driver's balance and motor skills. In another test officers use a flashlight to observe the involuntary twitching of a driver's eye, called the horizontal gaze nystagmus. If the driver is intoxicated, the twitch occurs at duller peripheral angles than normal. In the third test, the police administer a breath test to determine a driver's blood alcohol level. In Florida the legal limit is .08.

The breath test has stemmed some controversy in Florida, however, because the machine that police use to test a driver's blood alcohol level - the Intoxilyzer 8000 - gives faulty readings about 40 percent of the time. As a consequence, sober drivers have been getting convicted of drunk driving based on faulty results. For that reason a number of Florida counties announced that they will not use the results from the Intoxilyzer 8000 breath test machine as evidence in DUI cases.

Florida drivers convicted of a DUI face the following possible penalties:

•· Fine

•· Jail time

•· Suspension of drivers license

•· Community service

•· Vehicle impoundment

Beyond court mandated penalties, there are a number of other consequences of a Florida DUI conviction. Drivers who do not get their drivers licenses suspended face a potential increase in their car insurance premiums. Drivers that do get their licenses suspended have to resort to alternative means of transportation, such as public transportation. Those who live in areas beyond the reach of public transportation face the threat of lost employment if they have no other way to get a ride to work.

Source: Law Firm Newswire, "Florida Drivers Arrested for DUI Due to Malfunctioning Alcohol Test," April 25, 2012

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The attorneys of McIntyre, Panzarella, Thanasides, Bringgold & Todd, P.A., represent clients throughout the Florida Gulf Coast and west central Florida regions, including Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakeland, Orlando, Lakeland, Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County and Polk County.