Posted on Jan 18, 2014

Police in Iowa were investigating an accident and suspected the driver was intoxicated. They had him blow into a portable breathalyzer, and the first result was .467. When he blew the second time the machine simply registered "Hi". According to the police, the man was too drunk to register on the breath tester.

Apparently, no one has suggested that the the problem was with the machine. It did produce a reading the first time, so why couldn't it produce a reading again. If it's a valid scientic instrument, the amount of alchohol shouldn't effect the reading. You would think someone might suspect a problem simply from the first reading; it was almost 6 times the legal limit of .8. According to the company that manufactures the breahalyzer, .45 is enough to cause death in most people. Yet this individual was walking and moving around.

Everyone has covered this story as driver who was so intoxicated the breahalyzer couldn't measure him. It's too bad no one has looked at the angle of whether the failure to get a result wasn't because he was too intoxicated, but because the machine was flawed.

Walter Reaves
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Criminal Defense Attorney Walter Reaves has been practicing law for over 35 years.