You might have heard by now that breath-alcohol tests are not widely respected among criminal defense attorneys. A big reason for this is that they are notoriously inaccurate. It might shock readers in Bryan and College Station to know just how problematic these tests are and, for that matter, the lengths that states will go to continue to use them.

In Florida, for instance, law enforcement authorities recently spent three days planning a DUI-simluating "booze and Doritos" party in which they paid employees to drink Jim Beam on the clock and then blow into the Intoxilyzer 8000, a commonly used breath-alcohol testing device. Their stated goal was to ensure that the tests are reliable and accurate, but a professor who was contacted by a reporter after it became know that the test cost a grand total of $8,000 said the results probably did not reveal anything. The problem is, he said, the test conditions do not mimic the conditions under which people are often pulled over on suspicion of DUI.

Criminal defense attorneys have made some headway in voicing their objections to these tests, but of course, their use is still widespread. Until law enforcement authorities come up with something better and more accurate, you should remember that you always have the option of speaking with a criminal defense attorney after you have been charged with charging a DUI. You never know -- that attorney might identify a problem with the prosecution's case.

Source: The Syracuse Post-Standard, "Florida pays state employees for drinking party to test breathalyzers," Geoff Herbert, Jan. 23, 2012