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Major Case Highlights Potential Problems With Breathalyzers

Case in Ohio shows that breathalyzer machines are not always accurate

Drivers are often under the assumption that the breath test devices used by police are almost always accurate. Therefore, when a breathalyzer test shows a driver was operating his vehicle over the legal blood alcohol content limit, he is often unlikely to challenge the validity of those results in court. However, a recent case from the Ohio Supreme Court shows that breath test results are far from infallible. Persistent problems with a device used by many police departments in that state could end up leading to charges being dropped against many DUI defendants according to the Columbus Dispatch.

Prone to error

In Ohio, defense attorneys have been challenging the state government to release records from thousands of Intoxilyzer 8000 breath testing devices. Until recently, the government had stalled in releasing the records because it said it did not have the financial and technical resources to do so.

Critics, however, maintained that authorities were nervous that the records would show a number of problems with the breathalyzer machines, which in turn could compromise thousands of cases against people charged with impaired driving. They say the Intoxilyzer 8000 is prone to human error and may give false results due to temperature variation. The Ohio Supreme Court, in ordering authorities to hand over records from the machines, noted that there were serious issues in determining the device's reliability.

Device banned

In fact, the problems with the breath test device have become so numerous that the Akron City Prosecutor's Office has told police departments in that city to stop using it, according to ABC 5 News. Although officials claimed that the move was not meant to be a condemnation of the device's accuracy, defense attorneys have nonetheless welcomed the move as a sign that the device is quickly falling out of favor.

OWI Defense in Iowa

Although the Intoxilyzer 8000 is not used in Iowa, the story does show that breathalyzer machines anywhere are prone to error. The devices used in Iowa can also give results that may be challenged in court, including if an officer fails to calibrate the device or does not following standard operating procedures before administering a breath test. Such concerns are not just mere technicalities; they exist to ensure that people are not falsely accused of breaking the law and having their rights and liberties taken away as a result.

Anybody who is currently facing an OWI charge in Iowa is likely under a great deal of stress and pressure. A conviction, after all, can have severe consequences, including restricted driving privileges, fines, and, in some cases, prison time. An experienced criminal defense attorney, however, can provide the help and guidance defendants need when faced with an OWI charge.

  • The Iowa State Bar Association
  • DUI Defense Law
  • NACDL
  • AAJ
  • Iowa Association of Justice

Keegan, Tindal, & Mason 

Put Over 50 Years of Combined Trial Experience On Your Side 
  • J. Dean Keegan
  • Eric D. Tindal
  • Andrea D. Mason
  • J. Dean Keegan J. Dean Keegan

    Owner

    Decades of Award-Winning Legal Service J. Dean Keegan was born and raised in Waterloo, Iowa. After high school, Dean served ...
    J. Dean  Keegan Photo
  • Eric D. Tindal Eric D. Tindal

    Attorney

    Highly Rated Criminal Defense in Iowa City Eric D. Tindal, attorney at Keegan, Tindal & Mason, graduated from the University ...
    Eric D. Tindal Photo
  • Andrea D. Mason Andrea D. Mason

    Attorney

    Experienced Criminal Defense in the Iowa and Illinois Quad Cities Andrea D. Mason practices in the areas of white collar ...
    Andrea D. Mason Photo

See What Our Clients Have to say

  • He was professional, knowledgeable and prompt. He was very effective in his communication.

    “He showed genuine concern with my matters. He described a plan of action. His information and demeanor were very reassuring. After the Hire: He was professional, knowledgeable and prompt. He was very ...”

    - David
  • I am glad he was there to get my head out of the guillotine when I needed him and keep my record clean.

    “I was stopped for an OWI. Dean took things as far as he could with the appeals process, finding every way possible to keep me driving in the meantime (which I needed to do for my job). Dean argued the ...”

    - Ryan
  • Attentive and a Standup Guy

    “I needed an attorney with deep experience in federal cases. Eric was recommended to me by an immigration lawyer in Iowa City I had hired in the past to help my wife obtain her green card. I was ...”

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    “Eric is the whole package. He will fight relentlessly for you, all the while using tact and professionalism. Eric always respected my best interests and kept them his top priority. He is incredibly ...”

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  • No matter the “level” of your legal issue - I wouldn’t want to be facing it without Eric Tindal in your corner

    “I’m struggling to write this review because it’s truly impossible to find the right words - that properly describe how much I appreciate Eric Tindal, his legal skills, and the effort he put forth for ...”

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SUCCESSFUL results for our clients

Protecting Your Freedom & Rights
  • Possession with Intent to Deliver Marijuana and Methamphetamine Charges Dismissed

    Washington Count FECR5351. Attorney Tindal and Attorney Clemens Erdahl successfully argued that evidence of drug manufacture was obtained in violation of the Constitution. All charges were dismissed.

  • Possession with Intent to Distribute Charges Dismissed

    Iowa County FECR010358. Attorney Tindal was able to show the Court that his client was detained in violation of his Constitutional rights and that the K9 utilized in the search was unreliable. Following hearing all charges were dismissed.

  • Second Degree Sexual Abuse and Other Charges Acquittal at Trial

    Johnson County FECR089277. The Defendant was charged with Second Degree Sexual Abuse and other charges. Following a one-week trial by Mr. Tindal, the Defendant was acquitted of all charges.

  • Sexual Abuse in the 2nd Degree Conviction Reversed on Appeal

    Iowa Supreme Court No. 04-361. The Defendant was convicted of Sexual Abuse in the 2nd Degree. On appeal, Mr. Tindal successfully argued that the conviction was based on improperly admitted evidence. The conviction was reversed.

  • Trafficking Stolen Weapons and Misdemeanor Theft Charge Dismissed

    Scott County FECR384046. The Defendant was charged with Trafficking Stolen Weapons and Misdemeanor Theft. The Court dismissed the felony following a Motion litigated by Mr. Tindal. The Defendant subsequently pled to the remaining misdemeanor.

  • Vehicular Homicide Charges Reduced

    Johnson County FECR68296. The Defendant was charged with Vehicular Homicide. Following a suppression hearing, Mr. Tindal and his co-counsel were able to show that the blood test result was taken in violation of implied consent procedures. The case was subsequently resolved for a misdemeanor.

  • First Degree Murder and Child Endangerment Causing Death Acquitted of First Degree Murder at Trial

    Henry County FECR005634. Attorney Tindal’s client was charged with First Degree Murder and Child Endangerment Causing Death. Following a two week trial, the Defendant was acquitted of all charges.

  • Operating While Intoxicated Reduced to Public Intoxication

    Johnson County OWCR116811. The Defendant was charged with Operating While Intoxicated. Mr. Tindal was able to win the Iowa Dept of Transportation appeal and have the blood test result thrown out. The case was resolved for a public intoxication charge and no loss of license.

  • Operating While Intoxicated Second Offense Reduced to Public Intoxication

    Washington County OWIN010946. The Defendant was charged with Operating While Intoxicated Second Offense. Following long negotiations with the State the Defendant was able to plead to a Public Intoxication and have his driving privileges reinstated.

  • Operating While Intoxicated Record Expunged

    Johnson OWCR106890. Attorney Dean Keegan's client received an Operating While Intoxicated, a serious misdemeanor. After reviewing the videos, Mr. Keegan filed a Motion to Suppress arguing the officer denied his client's right to make a phone call. The State declined to present testimony at the hearing and the Motion to Suppress was granted, making the client eligible for a deferred judgment. Mr. Keegan's client will have her record expunged and be able to obtain a license after 90 days instead of 180.

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Keegan, Tindal, & Mason

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  • Over 50 Years of Combined Experience In Criminal Defense with an Emphasis on OWI's

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