As noted in a recent Denver Post article, Colorado law does not mandate that an expert be called into court to pontificate on the accuracy of a breath-test machine when the blood-alcohol content measurement it delivered is centrally important in a drunk driving case.
All that is required, points out the Post, is the submission of a certificate duly signed by a properly trained state technician following his or her confirmation that a machine in question — in Colorado, that is the Intoxilyzer 9000 — was fully tested, calibrated and validated.
That process likely sounds adequate and reasonable to most readers of our blog at the Denver criminal defense law firm of Shazam Kianpour & Associates, P.C. After all, there is a formal standard and guideline in play, with several distinct steps that must be carried out, with their accuracy confirmed, en route to an official vetting endorsed through a proven professional’s signature.
What could possibly go wrong with that?
Unfortunately, plenty, with dire implications for potentially thousands of Colorado motorists stopped for allegedly driving under the influence and ultimately suffering severe adverse consequences resulting from the displayed BAC readouts issuing from the breathalyzers used in their given cases.
Candidly, there are more than a few people from the governor’s office, state health department, law enforcement agencies and other government bodies who are uncomfortably squirming presently, with a growing media spotlight providing less than salutary details that speak materially to official incompetence.
Here’s the bottom line: Something is greatly remiss regarding the validation process for the scores of Intoxilyzer 9000s being used by police officers across the state in DUI cases.
We’ll sketch the details in our next blog post.