DUI Breath Testing MachineOften Inaccurate, Leading to Wrongful Convictions
April 17, 2006
Minneapolis, Minnesota - Douglas Hazelton of Hazelton Law Offices, a law firm serving Minnesota clients charged with DWI/DUI statewide for more than 12 years, believes many drivers are often wrongfully convicted of DUI because of inaccurate results by breath testing machines used after Minnesota DUI stops.
To prove it Hazelton will be heading to Manchester, New Hampshire this June to become a certified Intoxilyzer 5000 breath test device operator. The course is being offered by Industrial Training and Design of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Hazelton hopes that by mastering the mechanics of the Intoxilyzer 5000 – a gizmo that uses infrared light to measure the amount of alcohol on a person’s breath - he will be able to exploit any potential shortcomings the contraption may have.
Hazelton believes he is among the first DWI/DUI defense lawyers in the Twin Cities area to pursue such accreditation, which he will receive after the three-day course. "Most people think that only law enforcement officers can be certified," Hazelton said.
"They have no idea how inaccurate the Intoxilyzer can be," Hazelton said. "Both the public and many judges assume that if the State of Minnesota has approved the use of the machine, it’s reliable."
"In fact, this belief is even widespread among defense attorneys. Many defense attorneys do not understand the internal workings of the machine to properly cross-examine the police officers and state experts regarding its operation."
Hazelton predicted the training will give him just the sort of evidentiary edge he feels prosecutors enjoy because defense attorneys are not allowed to attend Intoxilyzer training classes given to law enforcement locally by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
"Even though I have to travel across the country for the same training law enforcement officers can receive across town, it will all be worth it for my clients if I am better able to question the state's witnesses at trial about weaknesses in the Intoxilyzer - which also weakens the prosecution's case," he said.
Last year, Mr. Hazelton received the "Super Lawyer" designation in the area of Criminal Law. The primary focus of his practice is defending drivers accused of alcohol-related offenses (DWI/DUI).
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