Continuing DWI Successes: Judge Throws Out Biased Breath Test Result

Posted On November 15, 2016 by Charles Ramsay

Here at Ramsay Law Firm, we've been leading the charge against unscientific DWI evidence. For the last year, we've had our sights set on DWI breath tests in Minnesota, and have been having continual success getting back our clients' drivers licenses and beating their DWI charges.

The war over unscientific breath test evidence has shifted over the last year with each new success -- sometimes slowly, sometimes rapidly. But the basics have never changed, and at its heart, our fight has always been about keeping junk science out of the courtroom and emphasizing the need for high-quality evidence in every case.

We recently obtained another order that perfectly described one of our challenges to breath testing -- the fact that every breath test machine in Minnesota is "biased" in one way or another. Although calling a machine "biased" sounds alarming, it's really not anything terrible . . . but if, and only if, the government admits that the machine is biased and tells us how much the bias affects the final test results. Here's a handy graphic worth at least 1,000 words that does a good job of visualizing how "bias" will affect a measurement.

Currently, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension doesn't admit how biased their breath test machines are. Instead, they hide how badly each breath test is compromised by bias, while attempting to minimize how badly they are misstating the effects of bias on a breath test.

Here is one example of an order where I convinced a judge that Minnesota's breath testing scheme is currently too biased to allow the government to revoke my client's drivers license. It's a great order, and the logic behind this victory applies to any DWI breath test case that is close to one of the relevant legal limits (0.04, 0.08, or 0.16). When discussing the misleading manner that the government uses to hide the bias in breath test cases, the judge noted:

But that's not the best quote from the Order -- read on:

Exactly right.

Too many people (including way to many defense attorneys) just assume that if a breath test result says they were over a 0.08, it must mean that they were actually over 0.08. That statement could not be further from the truth . . . and we're proving it, on behalf of our clients, time and time again.

Daniel Koewler