Breath Machines are unreliable and invalid tests for alcohol
The government presumptuously calls it a Minnesota “breath test.” But does their machine pass the test of reliability and scientific validity?
The basic idea behind the machine is that alcohol vapor in a person’s breath blocks infrared light. The machines used by police trap the target person’s breath in a glass tube, then direct infrared wavelength light through it. Sensors on the other side of the tube detect how much of the infrared light made it through.
Trial by Machine – the Age of the Machines
We know that numerous factors can cause the machine to report a greatly inaccurate alcohol level. One of these is the presence of interferents in the target’s body and breath. Thousands of common household and industrial (work) chemical products contain Volatile Organic Compounds (“VOCs”) which are absorbed into the target person’s blood, and later are dissipated from the person’s body, including out of their lungs and breath. These are termed “interferents” because they interfere with the desired operation of infrared breath alcohol machines by blocking the infrared light – the same way alcohol molecules do (see illustration above of an alcohol molecule).
Other problems with these machines include radio interference, inadequate observation periods by police, mouth alcohol contamination, including that caused by acid reflux, diabetes and rapid weight loss (ketones as an interferent), environmental factors during administration, as well as other factors relating to the targeted person.
In addition, police officers now have a legal incentive to label a person “a refusal”(whether true or not) to save themselves time and work, and to punish a driver. Police are now trained by the State to blame machine malfunctions on the driver (i.e. mouth alcohol, blocked breath tubes, etc.) rather than try to troubleshoot the machine malfunctions.
General themes of DWI litigation are the government valuing expediency above justice; and deliberate efforts by the government to ignore the truth, affirmatively hide the truth, and deny accused drivers access to the truth. This contradicts a core purpose of the court: “the search for the truth.” There are many examples of this. Yet the lives of thousands of innocent Minnesotans are ruined by this so-called “evidence” every year.
Another example of how the government, and the anti-alcohol extremists who try to influence it, deliberately advocate to hide the truth in these cases, is the destruction and curtailment of the right to pre-trial discovery in “implied consent” drivers license revocation cases.