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Will wrong software computer code exonerate Minnesota drunk drivers?

Posted in Law Enforcement News July 9th, 2010 @ 11:26 am

Law enforcement in Minnesota use Intoxilyzer 5000EN for roadside breath tests. Now defense lawyers for more than 2,000 accused drunk drivers say they were provided the wrong software computer code and need more time to review the information before an October trial to challenge the accuracy of the Intoxilyzer.

Defense lawyers say that they found discrepancies between the required software in the Intoxilyzer the defense leased from the state. In addition, the state admitted there was such a discrepancy in an Otter Tail County machine. As a result, defense lawyers are asking judges to throw out tests from the machine because it is inaccurate and untested.

One of the defense lawyers was provided a software code last month that didn’t match the code used in Minnesota machines that may make the Intoxilyzer results faulty. In addition, the question is if one Intoxilyzer has a defective code, how many more of the machines have the same code? The state said that of all the Intoxilyzers they have approximately 264, the remaining machines have the correct code. Defense laywers want to test at least a dozen machines – six from the Twin Cities and six from greater Minnesota – to ensure that all the machines are providing the correct code.

However, prosecutors claim that the machines are accurate but until this issue is resolved, law enforcement has turned to relying on blood and urine tests for suspected drunk drivers. In the meantime, all the DWI trials are on hold until tests can be done.

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