The Intoxilizer 8000 and A Not So Merry Christmas

The Intoxilizer 8000 is the DUI machine used by law enforcement in Mississippi. Around Jackson, Ridgeland, Clinton, the City of Madison, Hinds County, Rankin County, and Madison County, almost all of the local police agencies have an Intoxilizer 8000. If a machine is broken at one of the local police departments the police will usually take the arrested citizen to the County Jail where there is also an Intoxilizer 8000. The Intoxilizer is a machine and nothing more! It can make errors, have flaws, break, and not function correctly. Yet it is treated like a perfect creation.

In Mississippi there are three (3) types of DUI. First, there is the DUI a person gets when they are arrested and they blow in the Intoxilizer 8000. This is called driving with a blood alcohol level greater than .08% as measured by the Intoxilizer 8000. The Intoxilizer 8000 cannot measure each person’s blood alcohol individually. The machine assumes a baseline for every person and then measures your breath against that baseline. This may not make sense to many readers. But it is based on scientific principle. The only way to get a real individual measurement is by a blood test. Police seldom use blood tests because the are more expensive, takes longer, and requires training to draw blood from a person. I read recently that some States are training officers how to draw blood and they are forcible taking blood from people they stop for DUI.

The Intoxilizer 8000 assumes that each person has a pre-set blood breath ratio and when you breath into the machine it measures by infra red light the number of alcohol molecules in your breath. While it is based on science it deviates from scientific principles. Of course the company that sells the machines likes to tout their reliability, but what do you expect the company to say; “Hey our machines are not reliable and make mistakes.” How many would they sell then? If people really knew and understood the Intoxilizer 8000 and other similar machines they would demand the machines not be used. The Intoxilizer 8000 is used because it is convenient.

If you are taken to the police station under suspicion for DUI you are not required to blow into the Intoxilizer 8000. The police officer cannot make you blow, but he will do everything possible to trick or talk you into blowing because it makes his job easier. When you blow and register over .08% on the Intoxilizer 8000 the officer’s work is done. He no longer has to prove you were driving under the influence. The law assumes you were under the influence because you had a blood alcohol content greater than .08%. But your blood was never really measured. Your breath was measured. When you blow and the machine registers over .08% the officer’s job is easier and you as the citizen have a much more difficult task. The Intoxilizer is a machine and it messes up frequently. We have had plenty of case where the machine malfunctioned.

So what happens if you do not blow when the officer tells you to blow. There are consequences. Under Mississippi Law if you refuse to blow the Mississippi Highway Patrol can suspend your license for 90 days for refusing to blow. This suspension is called a refusal. If their is any benefit it is this: Your insurance company cannot hold the suspension against you and raise your rates. You will still have a DUI to fight but you will not have to fight against a test result of .08%. My experience shows that when Judges see the .08% your defense becomes next to impossible unless you can spend thousands of dollars to test the Intoxilizer 8000. If you plan on challenging your arrest for DUI you are much better not taking the Intoxilizer 8000. The officer is then left with charging you with what we call “Common Law DUI.” This will be the subject of the next Blog article.

Coxwell & Associates is a nationally know law firm that practices across Mississippi. The office is located in Jackson, Hinds County, Mississippi. The attorneys regularly practice in cities such as Ridgeland, Madison, Brandon, Clinton, Flowood, and other cities in and around Hinds, Rankin and Madison Counties. If you have a problem talk to the attorney who are the lawyers to judges, politicians, doctors, and thousands of Mississippians.

Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.

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