Breath, Blood, and the Right to Confront Your Accuser in Broward County DUI Cases
Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney William Moore has studied criminal procedure extensively, especially as it pertains to DUI defense. The United States Constitution and the Florida Constitution provide many protections to criminal defendants, such as the right to a speedy and public trial, the right to trial by a jury of one’s peers, and the right to confront one’s own accuser. All of those rights are major tenets of the criminal justice system. The Founding Fathers, as well as legislatures and Supreme Court justices of later times, have steadily insisted that these rights be protected and, where necessary for fairness, expanded. For example, the case that required reading of Miranda rights prior to criminal interrogations was only decided in 1966. Similarly, women and African-Americans were not allowed to sit on juries until the twentieth century. Female and African-American criminal defendants were instead tried by all-white, entirely male juries – which does not really constitute a jury of one’s peers. Now, the law has expanded to prevent lawyers from striking potential jurors during the selection process on the sole grounds of race. Broward DUI Lawyer William Moore is especially interested in the constitutionality of stopping vehicles at sobriety checkpoints.
Fort Lauderdale DUI defense lawyer William Moore Criminal Defense is also concerned about the ongoing use of breath and blood alcohol testing as a constitutional matter. The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to confront one’s accuser. This was included in the Bill of Rights to prevent the abuse of the criminal justice system with secret prosecutions or secret evidence. The Sixth Amendment reads as follows:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
Florida and the other 49 states have “per se” driving under the influence laws, in addition to other DUI-related legislation. The per se laws provide that a person accused of DUI should be convicted if the prosecution can demonstrate that his blood or breath alcohol content met or exceeded the legal limit of 0.08. The constitutional issue is that the “accuser” is a machine.
To be convicted of DUI under the per se statute, Broward DUI defense attorney William Moore Criminal Defense says that the breath test machine must show a reading of at least 0.08 and the jury must believe its accuracy. Many factors interfere with the accuracy of the machine, such as mouth alcohol, body size, body temperature, and numerous other factors. Most problematically for confronting the “accuser” is the fact that the manufacturers of the Intoxilyzer machines used by Florida law enforcement agencies will not disclose how the machine works. The company has refused to disclose the machine’s software coding, making it impossible to understand how the machines operate and how accurate they really are.
One YouTube user has set out to demonstrate the unreliability of the Intoxilyzer:
Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney William Moore provides experienced legal representation for DUI defendants in south Florida. If you have been charged with a DUI, contact William Moore Criminal Defense, P.A., a Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyer with offices in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties.
This article should be used for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice nor as implied representation of any person.
Article contributed by Mallory Shipman, Esq.