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Issues with breathalyzer could result in case being tossed

In most drunk driving cases breathalyzers play a role. It is not uncommon for the breath test to be administered following a traffic stop as part of a sobriety test. When the machine works correctly, it is supposed to provide an accurate reading of the amount of alcohol in the driver’s system. If the amount registered is over the legal limit, it will be used as evidence by the crown as it builds its case. If the machine does not work as intended, the odds of a conviction being secured, will likely drop.

Currently, there is some concern regarding the reliability of a model of breathalyzer used in the province of Ontario. Specifically, where the accuracy of the Intoxilyzer 8000C is concerned, an expert witness found its data did not have the requisite “uncertainty of measure.” The device’s data indicated unusual results, and there was no evidence to show that the issues had been addressed.

While this decision is undoubtedly an important one for the accused in the case in which the matter arose—resulting in the charges against the person being tossed— at this point it will have a lesser impact on others. This is because per an Ontario Court of Appeal decision, the data used to arrive at that conclusion does not have to be given to the defence.

As this development illustrates, drunk driving cases can be complicated. Those who are accused of this crime can increase the odds of being found not guilty by contacting a criminal defence lawyer. The sooner work is started on such a case, the better.

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