The Intoxilyzer 9000 in Georgia
Georgia's New DUI Breath Testing Device
The most common method for testing blood alcohol content in DUI cases in Georgia is breath analysis. Since 1995, Georgia's law enforcement has been using the Intoxilyzer 5000 device to conduct breath tests. There have been 2 major upgrades of this device since its introduction in Georgia, but essentially the machine has gone unchanged for almost 20 years.
As of January 1, 2013, Georgia has been transitioning to a newer model of the breath test device: the Intoxilyzer 9000. According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Division of Forensic Sciences (DOFS), the Intoxilyzer 9000 model's ability to save information from all previous tests, its portability, and the projected infrequency of maintenance makes it a superior machine to the Intoxilyzer 5000.
What the GBI Did Not Admit Publicly:
The GBI did, however, fail to publically explain how they can justify testing on an older, outdated Intox. 5000 while taking 2 years to transition to the new machine. Who wants to be the last casualty of war?
As result, Georgia State Officials continue to say that the older Intoxilyzer 5000 is completely up to date, technologically, while simply being hard to service and maintain. This is like saying my Atari Video Game System from 20 years ago is as advanced as a modern gaming system. Yes, they both play games but the argument ends there.
INTOXILYZER 9000 AT A GLANCE:
The manufacturer, CMI, boasts that the Intoxilyzer 9000 offers better size, function, and portability than its 5000 model. Like the 5000 model, the Intoxilyzer 9000 uses an infrared spectroscopic technique to identify and quantify alcohol in the breath. The 9000 model differs by utilizing a dry gas delivery system to verify the accuracy of the results. (something the Intoxilyzer 5000 cannot do).
The I-9000 also graphically displays the subject's breath flow curve and pressure and BAC curves throughout the breath test. This allows the operator to visually see if the subject is providing a proper breath sample. Again, this is something the older Intoxilyzer 5000 does not do, thereby creating the potential for suspects to be falsely accused to refusing to provide an adequate sample.
Unlike the Intoxilyzer 5000, the Intoxilyzer 9000 prints the breath test results on a full 8.5” by 11” sheet of paper. The Intoxilyzer 9000 breath test report contains information that is not found on the smaller Intoxilyzer 5000 evidence cards. The Intoxilyzer 9000 Breath Test Report not only includes results of each test element, but also when the test was performed. Again, an element that is not available on the Intox. 5000.
The Intoxilyzer 9000 is also capable of retaining all test information and downloading it to a centralized server. The entire test, control and calibration data can be reprinted directly from the machine. The Intoxilyzer 5000 can only retain the latest test run. As a result, there is no way to determine a potential pattern of problems on the older machine
Currently the Georgia Model 9000 package is approximately $8000, not including calibration supplies. The Intoxilyzer 9000 requires the use of a dry gas ethanol control with each subject test, which will cost approximately $0.50 per subject.
Georgia's Transition To The Newer Model:
All Georgia law enforcement agencies must incorporate the Intoxilyzer 9000 unit by December 21, 2015, and any breath tests administered on the Intoxilyzer 5000 after that date will be inadmissible in court.
Under GBI Rule 92-3, Georgia police officers holding a permit to operate the Intoxilyzer 5000 will have to complete a 4-hour transition course to receive a permit to operate a Georgia Model Intoxilyzer 9000. While a permit to operate the Intoxilyzer 5000 is required to take a course on the newer model, officers holding an expired Intoxilyzer 5000 permit may still apply to attend the Breath Alcohol Testing Transition Class provided their permit has been expired for less than one year.
Interestingly, the Georgia Operator's Transition Training Manual's explanation for the switch highlights many flaws of the device that remains in use. For example, it pointed out that several years ago, the device's manufacturer, CMI, informed the Division of Forensic Sciences that the definition of daylight savings time changes impacted the 5000 model's memory capacity. This has made any changes to the software impossible.
Why Should We Be Concerned With The New Intox. 9000?
First and foremost, the company that manufactures the machine refuses to release the source code for it, and the older machines such as the Intoxilyzer 5000. The causes many reasons for concern in that there is no way to know how many errors the machine records because there is no way to look into the software and firmware that controls the machine. What is the error rate? What environmental factors matter? Are there false positives? What are the factors that contribute to the margin of error? Is there a bias against people with smaller framed bodies, such as women?
Furthermore, the idea of finally being able to upgrade the machine via software and firmware updates makes TOTAL SENSE, however, shouldn't the people who have taken the test before such upgrades be informed under Brady v Maryland whether those upgrades patched a problem with the machine? How will we ever know the purpose of the upgrade when we have no access to the source code, or even the programing notes?
Why Not File a Lawsuit Against CMI Demanding the Source Code?
Georgia DUI Attorneys tried to sue CMI and lost at every level. Our court system in Georgia, including our appellate courts have been absolute cowards in dealing with the source code issues. Georgia Courts have refused to order CMI to turn over the source code to anyone for independent analysis in spite of repeated attempts and requests. Our Courts have repeatedly protected our prosecutors and the GBI from any challenge to the machine because of political cowardliness and the never-ending "DUI Exception to the Constitution.” DUI is just so unpopular; no one cares if the State gets it right or not. Its trial by machine, like out of an episode of the Twilight Zone.
There is Hope – Georgia DUI Lawyers Can Challenge The Breath Test In Your Case:
If you have been arrested for DUI and have submitted to a breath-test on either Intoxilyzer model, act now. You only have 30 days to have your Georgia DUI Attorney file an appeal to save your driver's license. Atlanta DUI Attorney Richard Lawson is a former DUI Prosecutor with more than 25 years experience defending people accused of DUI throughout Metro Atlanta and North Georgia. Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are here when you need us most.