Test Doubts Hinder Drunk-Driver Cases


Recent events in and around Ohio, including Dayton and Springfield, have cast doubt on the reliability of the machine used by law enforcement to determine if someone’s blood alcohol level is above the legal limit.

The machine is called the “Intoxilyzer 8000” and it is manufactured by CMI Inc., an Owensboro, Kentucky company.

Several Ohio courts in the past two years have ruled that the breath-test readings from the Intoxilyzer 8000 were not admissible because the machine cannot be proven accurate, or for other inconsistencies. In Painsville Municipal Court, one such ruling has prompted their local law enforcement agencies to stop using the device. Cincinnati has followed suit. In Troy, Ohio and Piqua, Ohio the Intoxilyzer continues to be used, even with the inherent difficulties.

“These machines are judge and jury” says Michael Cicconetti, the Painsville Municipal Court Judge. “If your going to do that to any defendant, that person has a basic right, to have a machine that’s reliable.”

In addition to the reliability problems experienced by the courts in OVI or DUI cases in Ohio, there are questions about the purchase of these intoxilyzer 8000 machines.

Dean Ward, the Ohio Department of Health official who drew up specifications and recommended that Ohio purchase the machines, was friends with CMI, Inc. President. After exerting his influence on the purchase Ward has since been hired by CMI, Inc.

Source: The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer

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