The Importance of Hiring an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer to Defend Your DUI

Posted by Michael Zarrella | Nov 06, 2014 | 0 Comments

      Nationwide and in Rhode Island, law enforcement has come to rely on breathalyzer tests in obtaining convictions in drunk driving and drugged driving offenses.  The use of breathalyzer machines is both a cost effective and convenient method for law enforcement to use in assessing a person's alcohol content.
     Recently, the Rhode Island Department of Health has selected the Intoxilyzer 9000 for Rhode Island law enforcement to use as the new chemical breath test machine for use in the prosecution of drunk and drugged driving offenses.  In Rhode Island the Intoxilyzer 9000 will replace the Intoxilyzer 5000, which no longer will receive service and support from its manufacturer. 
     It is argued that the Intoxilyzer 9000 will generate more useful statistical data with respect to the results of chemical breath tests.  The technology used to determine blood alcohol content (BAC) from the breath samples is different between the 5000 model and the 9000 model.  The reporting of BAC results is also different in that the 9000 will print out a graph showing the information.  Additionally, the 9000 model stores more data than the 5000 and runs a calibration check for each test.  The 9000 will have more advanced capabilities than the 5000 model to meet the legal and quality assurance requirements to insure accurate breath alcohol testing.
     Questions persist as to how accurate these machines are in determining alcohol content on an individual.  These questions are the basis of an experienced criminal defense attorney's defense of a DUI charge.  The manufacturers of these machines require routine maintenance of these machines.  Continued use of the Intoxilyzer 5000, without the continued service and support from its manufacturer, will beg the question of the machine's reliability and accuracy in determining BAC.  In addition to the malfunctioning of the machine, the reliability and accuracy of breath alcohol results is also comprimised by burping and the timing of when the alcohol was last drunk before taking the test.  The administration of the test is essential to obtaining reliable results.  The training of the officer and his or her observations with respect to the eating, drinking or vomiting by the suspect could produce inaccurate results. Additionally, there are legal issues with respect to the competency of witnesses who are obtaining and analyzing the software of the machines and the calibration of the machines.
     Any individual who is arrested for drunk or drugged driving after blowing the legal limit, which in Rhode Island is 0.08, should pursue the investigation of the accuracy of their results by an experienced criminal defense attorney rather just accept the results.  As stated above, there are numerous issues that can be raised to question the accuracy of the results of a breathalyzer test.  It is only through the hiring of an experienced criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the issues that an individual can be successful in defending themselves. The penalties of a DUI conviction are severe in Rhode Island.  They include fines, suspension or loss of license, community service, higher auto insurance rates, education, and may include jail time.  If you have been pulled over and subject to a breathalyzer test, please do not hesitate to call Attorney Michael J. Zarrella to review your case.   The Law Offices of Michael J. Zarrella offers a free consultation and provides over 20 years of experience in the criminal defense field with a concentration in the area of DUI defense. 

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Michael Zarrella is one of Rhode Island's top DUI attorneys. If you have been charged with a DUI or any criminal matter, contact him today.