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Defendants put the drunken driving test on trial
Tampabay.com ^ | 03/27/2011 | Leonora LaPeter Anton

Posted on 04/03/2011 3:47:30 PM PDT by The Magical Mischief Tour

Laura Barfield spends a lot of time these days swinging around Florida in her state-issued Chevy to defend the technology that the state uses to catch drunken drivers.

As the state's chief defender of the breath-testing Intoxilyzer, her job is to assure everyone that the most challenged of all forensic tests is accurate and reliable. In recent weeks, she has been called to testify in Sarasota, Hillsborough and Port St. Lucie counties. In the weeks ahead, she has dates with courtrooms in Taylor, Lake, Leon, Pinellas and Escambia. It has gotten to the point where the state's breath-testing machine is never not in litigation.

"It's never going to go away," Barfield says. "It's always going to be something."

The technology has evolved over 73 years, but it's more vulnerable to legal challenge than ever. Partly because of doubts about the Intoxilyzer, prosecutors have struggled to get convictions in some counties. Judges in two counties won't even allow Intoxilyzer evidence.

(Excerpt) Read more at tampabay.com ...


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: bac; donutwatch; driving; drunkdriving; dui; dwi; intoxilyzer; laurabarfield

1 posted on 04/03/2011 3:47:33 PM PDT by The Magical Mischief Tour
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To: The Magical Mischief Tour

Good. The state should never be given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to anything.


2 posted on 04/03/2011 3:53:01 PM PDT by pnh102 (Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity. - Me)
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To: The Magical Mischief Tour

The technology is sound, and is almost always followed up with a blood test once the guy gets to jail. For people who come into the ER following an accident, blood is ALWAYS taken for a BAC and drugs of abuse.

The problem is defense loyiz who will throw whatever they can, regardless of how ludicrous it is, up against the wall, hoping some of it will stick.

If you blow the field sobriety test, blow the breathalizer and blow the blood test, you have no defense. Pay your fine, lose your license and watch your insurance rates (assuming you can find another insurance company to issue you a policy) go into low orbit.


3 posted on 04/03/2011 3:55:14 PM PDT by NWFLConservative
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To: The Magical Mischief Tour

Solve that, do a BAT.


4 posted on 04/03/2011 3:55:36 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty - Honor - Country! What else needs said?)
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To: The Magical Mischief Tour

In my opinion, we aught to reform the drunk driving laws. It’s like we are charging people with “pre-crime” ala Minority Report. If a drunk commits a crime, charge him with the actual crime, and then suspend his license.

Right now, we’re making criminals of a lot of people up for having a couple drinks who are no more impaired than the idiot talking on his cellphone or the woman putting her makeup on during rush hour.

Not to mention, we’ve tossed aside the 4th Amendment with these random roadblocks, even though studies have shown time and again they are not effective in catching drunk drivers, but are instead used to rack up minor violations to pad government budgets.


5 posted on 04/03/2011 3:57:34 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: The Magical Mischief Tour

Can’t help noticing that the BAC minimum for being drunk back then was 0.15...now it is 0.08. What changed that much? I get MADD just thinking about it.


6 posted on 04/03/2011 4:02:17 PM PDT by BobL (PLEASE READ: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2657811/posts))
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To: The Magical Mischief Tour

Seems to me that the amount of alcohol it takes to impair someone is dependent on how often and how much they drink. A non drinker can be totally wasted on one beer, and will have no effect somebody who drinks regularly. Yet their blood alcohol level will be the same if their weight is the same.


7 posted on 04/03/2011 4:05:17 PM PDT by babygene (Figures don't lie, but liars can figure...)
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To: babygene

“Seems to me that the amount of alcohol it takes to impair someone is dependent on how often and how much they drink. A non drinker can be totally wasted on one beer, and will have no effect somebody who drinks regularly. Yet their blood alcohol level will be the same if their weight is the same.”

Awww, someone getting to the rut of the issue (as Jocelyn Elders would say). The question is how well someone drives, not how much their BAC is. When I was younger, I’d put my 0.12 driving skills up against ANY 85 year old, ANY day, any time (not so much now...so I’m past that stage).

So, how do we prove if that erratic driver with a 0.05 should be off the road, when an person otherwise driving perfectly safe should be locked up and possibly have their career, their finances, and/or their family ruined, just because they stumbled into a checkpoint with 0.09?

Simple answer - simulators. Allow a defense to be that you load up on alcohol to a slightly higher level than you were caught at - if you can prove that you drive safely (which isn’t too hard unless you’re really ripped...as in over 0.15), then you’re acquitted.


8 posted on 04/03/2011 4:11:42 PM PDT by BobL (PLEASE READ: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2657811/posts))
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To: NWFLConservative
The technology is sound,

Bull shit

9 posted on 04/03/2011 4:11:49 PM PDT by Las Vegas Ron (The Tree of Liberty did not grow from an ACORN!)
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To: Las Vegas Ron
Bull shit

+1

10 posted on 04/03/2011 4:15:14 PM PDT by The Magical Mischief Tour (With The Resistance...)
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To: The Magical Mischief Tour

Where does the money go see its easy the police state needs more cash they have no desire to be reasonable!


11 posted on 04/03/2011 4:18:59 PM PDT by scottteng (Proud parent of a Life scout)
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To: NWFLConservative
The Intoxilyzer tests the breath, not the blood. There is only a fairly loose correlation, between alcohol vapour on the breath, and blood alcohol content. False positives are not rare. If you ever fail a breath test, by a small amount; insist on a blood test.
12 posted on 04/03/2011 4:30:42 PM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: Boogieman

So it’s Ok to drive cdrunk UNTIL you kill someone?


13 posted on 04/03/2011 4:35:03 PM PDT by MindBender26 (While the MSM slept.... we have become relevant media in America.)
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To: The Magical Mischief Tour

I bet not many people can define the real legal definition of a criminal charge on this site.When you study the issue you may be PISSED!


14 posted on 04/03/2011 4:35:52 PM PDT by taxtruth (Don't end the fed,jail the fed!)
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To: The Magical Mischief Tour
they caught the Monroe County (Keys) sheriff's office tickling the results with the machine .. actually had to fire a county employee

.

15 posted on 04/03/2011 4:45:22 PM PDT by Elle Bee
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To: NWFLConservative
If you blow the field sobriety test, blow the breathalizer and blow the blood test, you have no defense. Pay your fine, lose your license and watch your insurance rates (assuming you can find another insurance company to issue you a policy) go into low orbit.

And lose your security clearance, lose your job, lose your chances of finding another job. Lose your home (because you lost your job). Lose your car. Possibly lose your kids (if you're a custodial parent). Lots to lose if you get busted driving drunk. That's why people are fighting it a lot more these days. There's so much more at stake than there used to be.

It used to be a DUI was a bad weekend. Face the music, pay a fine and bum a ride for a few weeks. These days it is a career killer and a major, life-changing conviction that closes a lot of doors.

I'm not arguing good or bad, just that it is what it is.

16 posted on 04/03/2011 4:49:19 PM PDT by Gena Bukin
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To: Gena Bukin

For some of is drunk driving hits very close to home. My sister was killed 10 years ago by a drunk driver. She was a surgical nurse working swings at NC Memorial in Chapel Hill. She was driving home around 11:30 when a drunk driver crossed the centerline and struck her head on doing upwards of 80 mph. Mercifully she died instantly. The son of a bitch survived and his BAC was .25. He got 8 years for vehicular manslaughter. He was out in four.

8 years ago, our family dentist, Lynn Stavely, DMD, whom we went to to for almost 15 years, was going home with her family to Hattiesburg, MS on Christmas Eve. A drunk driving a huge SUV ran a red light, t-boned their mini-van and killed Lynn instantly. The impact was so great it BROKE the A-piller of their van, and even though she was wearing a seatbelt, she got ejected. She left behind a husband (who was also a dentist and with whom she shared a practice) and two children, both under 6 years old. He too basically walked away, I can’t recall his BAC but he was stewed.


17 posted on 04/03/2011 5:00:45 PM PDT by NWFLConservative
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To: NWFLConservative

The technology is sound,
*************************
Yeah Right ; Tell that to every diabetic teatotaler who blows a violation...


18 posted on 04/03/2011 5:19:08 PM PDT by Neidermeyer
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To: Neidermeyer

Which is why they are almost always followed up by a blood test, which is the gold standard.

How many tea tottling diabetics flunk a field sobriety test, which is usually administered first. In most cases the breathalyzer is taken after a field sobriety test if the person is on the borderline in the officer’s judgement.


19 posted on 04/03/2011 5:30:06 PM PDT by NWFLConservative
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To: All; NWFLConservative
In grade school one of my classmates lost both parents to a drunk driver. I'd been caroling with them a few months before. More recently a firefighter friend was T-boned and lost an organ to a drunk driver.

I've known other drunk driver deaths and accidents in the intervening years. I have no tolerance for those giving buzzed driving a pass. Those commenters are just fooling themselves and putting other lives at risk.

20 posted on 04/03/2011 6:18:01 PM PDT by newzjunkey (Obama will be president until Fri, Jan 20, 2017.)
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To: NWFLConservative

You know that if one test says “violation” and another says “no violation” the driver still has his life ruined because the police will charge him with something.

The police where I’m at put up unconstitutional illegal roadblock checkpoints occasionally... Why are you OK with that sort of behavior?


21 posted on 04/03/2011 6:31:56 PM PDT by Neidermeyer
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To: NWFLConservative

How many tea tottling diabetics flunk a field sobriety test, which is usually administered first.
***********************************************
ALL OF THEM if they have neuropathy.


22 posted on 04/03/2011 6:34:18 PM PDT by Neidermeyer
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To: Neidermeyer

And if they are suffering from diabetic neuropathy or amyotrophy, they probably should not be driving in the first place.


23 posted on 04/03/2011 6:37:37 PM PDT by NWFLConservative
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To: MindBender26

False premise. Your question assumes that everyone who ever drives while over the legal limit will eventually kill someone, which is not true.


24 posted on 04/03/2011 7:23:26 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: newzjunkey
I've known other drunk driver deaths and accidents in the intervening years. I have no tolerance for those giving buzzed driving a pass.

When such a tragedy hits close to home it is easy to overlook rational analysis of the facts. In almost all fatal or critical injury accidents caused by a drunk driver the drunk driver has an alcohol content of .18 or above, and most of them are repeat drunk drivers at .18 or above. The current draconian .08 standard is nothing more than a money maker for the states and the insurance companies. Ohio has close to 80,000 DUIs a year. Consider all the related cost per DUI and do the math. Its not about preventing drunk drivers anymore.

Further, only about 1% of all drivers passing though DUI checkpoints is arrested for DUI. The state and federal governments foisted this gestapo tactic on the pubic by claiming that at any point and time at least 10% of the drivers we driving drunk. The DUI checkpoint do not justify the cost, unless of course they are doing it for other=er reasons like conditioning the sheeple to accept more heavy handed government and 4th Amendment violations.

25 posted on 04/03/2011 7:52:14 PM PDT by suijuris
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To: newzjunkey
I've known other drunk driver deaths and accidents in the intervening years. I have no tolerance for those giving buzzed driving a pass.

When such a tragedy hits close to home it is easy to overlook rational analysis of the facts. In almost all fatal or critical injury accidents caused by a drunk driver the drunk driver has an alcohol content of .18 or above, and most of them are repeat drunk drivers at .18 or above. The current draconian .08 standard is nothing more than a money maker for the states and the insurance companies. Ohio has close to 80,000 DUIs a year. Consider all the related cost per DUI and do the math. Its not about preventing drunk drivers anymore.

Further, only about 1% of all drivers passing though DUI checkpoints is arrested for DUI. The state and federal governments foisted this gestapo tactic on the pubic by claiming that at any point and time at least 10% of the drivers we driving drunk. The DUI checkpoint do not justify the cost, unless of course they are doing it for other=er reasons like conditioning the sheeple to accept more heavy handed government and 4th Amendment violations.

26 posted on 04/03/2011 7:52:25 PM PDT by suijuris
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To: The Magical Mischief Tour

The professional drunks with high blood alcohol levels are safer drivers than the amateur drunks with lower blood alcohol levels. People who can prove that they are more or less always drinking should be given more slack than the crazy amateurs.


27 posted on 04/03/2011 7:57:55 PM PDT by Walts Ice Pick
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To: Boogieman
So it's ok to have drunk drivers on the other side of the double yellow line on a two lane road at 65 mph, headed toward them when your wife and kids are driving home?

Idiocy.

28 posted on 04/03/2011 8:13:05 PM PDT by MindBender26 (While the MSM slept.... we have become relevant media in America.)
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To: MindBender26

Nope. As I said, if a drunk driver breaks the law, arrest him for that crime. Reckless driving is a crime, whether you are drunk or not.

I see this issue the same way as the leftist “hate crime” legislation. If they actually break the laws, then it’s redundant, and if they don’t break the law, then it’s tyrannical.


29 posted on 04/03/2011 8:18:03 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: NWFLConservative

You put an awful lot of faith in the “field sobriety test.” That is totally a judgment call on the part of the cop, who as often as not doesn’t know what he is doing. I have a neuropathy in my lower legs that badly impairs my balance. I have seen the way I walk in therapy when my trainers give me balance strengthening exercises. I would fail a “field sobriety test” in the judgment of the average cop, even cold sober (me, not the cop).


30 posted on 04/03/2011 8:56:07 PM PDT by blau993
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To: Boogieman
It's rather difficult to arrest him in the half second he needs to weave across the road and kill everyone.

DWI is a crime because there is a well proven propensity for drunk drivers to cause accidents and kill people, far beyond what sober people do.

Would you let a very drunk person walk down the street waving a loaded gun around.

A 4400 pound car is a lot more deadly than a .44 magnum.

31 posted on 04/03/2011 9:02:33 PM PDT by MindBender26 (While the MSM slept.... we have become relevant media in America.)
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To: NWFLConservative

The tech is not sound. Independent peer-reviewed science says the machines are unreliable. In fact, the underlying basis for establishing BAC is flawed.

Also, FST’s are bogus as well. Even the DOT research shows cops find 60% of 0.00 BAC folks impaired.

Lowering the DUI BAC level is causing all the defense bar push back. What states should concentrate on is locking up the high BAC drunks those folks are ones that kill people.


32 posted on 04/03/2011 9:03:55 PM PDT by 13foxtrot
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To: Boogieman

I tend to agree with your reasoning. Similar overreaching patterns also exist in gun & tobacco regulations.


33 posted on 04/03/2011 9:10:20 PM PDT by Gene Eric (*** Jesus ***)
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To: MindBender26

Driver fatigue is also deadly.


34 posted on 04/03/2011 9:12:34 PM PDT by Gene Eric (*** Jesus ***)
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To: The Magical Mischief Tour

the defense should ask the judge to blow into the little tube to demonstrate the machine...

that should get a quik dismissal.


35 posted on 04/04/2011 5:32:06 AM PDT by lack-of-trust
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To: MindBender26
So it’s Ok to drive cdrunk own a gun UNTIL you kill someone?
36 posted on 04/04/2011 5:38:49 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: ShadowAce
Of course, the gun is legal because legal ownership of a gun has been shown to DECREASE the chances of your doing harm to fellow citizens.

Driving drunk has been shown to drastically INCREASE the chances of killing others.

Please, let's not get tempus absurdum here

37 posted on 04/04/2011 5:48:22 AM PDT by MindBender26 (While the MSM slept.... we have become relevant media in America.)
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To: MindBender26
I'm not in favor of drunk driving, of course--I don't even drink.

But you were in favor of arrest and prosecution of people who haven't yet committed a crime.

As mentioned above, one's ability to drive can be variable depending on that person's ability to handle his alcohol.

A particular BAC for everyone is not a good test.

38 posted on 04/04/2011 5:57:22 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: MindBender26

“It’s rather difficult to arrest him in the half second he needs to weave across the road and kill everyone.”

I don’t know what sense this makes. It’s tough to stop a lot of crimes in the time it takes to commit them, but that doesn’t mean we arrest someone because “they seem like the type that will rob a bank”, for example.

“DWI is a crime because there is a well proven propensity for drunk drivers to cause accidents and kill people, far beyond what sober people do.”

Like I said, it’s “pre-crime”. You think someone is likely to commit an actual crime (infringing on the rights/life/property of others), so you are arresting them in advance.

“Would you let a very drunk person walk down the street waving a loaded gun around.”

No, because brandishing a weapon is already an actual crime. If they just had it holstered, which would be more analogous to driving over the legal limit but not violating the rules of the road, then yes, I have no problem with that.


39 posted on 04/04/2011 8:12:52 AM PDT by Boogieman
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