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Ohio now will supply breath testing device data to attorneys

When you are arrested in Ohio for drunk driving or DUI charge, that charge may be based on a breath test performed on an Intoxilyzer 8000. This machine has been mired in controversy for years, with many critics claiming it is unreliable and produces inaccurate results.

Earlier this year, the Ohio Supreme Court determined that defendants in a DUI case can challenge the specific accuracy of the breath testing device that was used in their case and that the state's Department of Health would be required to turn over the data related to that machine.

The DOH has long claimed that it was impossible to compile and turn over the records relating to calibration and use of the machines. Some trial courts in Ohio have even refused to admit Intoxilyzer 8000 data, often dismissing cases based on those readings, due to their unreliability.

Recently, the Department of Health has  apparently figured out how to extract and produce this machine use data. Yet, the department still seems to have records management issues. An Ohio newspaper requested copies of documents and communication dating to 2013 involving questions of the Intoxilyzer 8000, its reliability and relating to the information requests for data from the machines.

The department responded that it could find no records. This is remarkable, as they have been in court claiming they could not produce data. As one of the attorneys involved with the case noted, it would suggest that they were "doing things off the books" to prevent documentation.

Some law enforcement agencies have declined to use the Intoxilyzer 8000.  It will be interesting to see the type of information that is eventually released regarding these machines and its potential effect on DUI cases.

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