It’s June 9, 2008. You are patiently waiting outside of your cell provider’s store for the release of the highly anticipated iPhone 3G. You finally get in the store and make your first iPhone purchase. You are blown away by the iPhone 3G’s performance, appearance, and capabilities. Now fast forward to October 23, 2020. Apple just released the iPhone 12. Again you are excited and impressed by the performance, appearance, and capabilities. However, it’s been over twelve years since you bought your first iPhone. So, because you have had other models since your first iPhone 3G, you only notice some minor differences.
But, what if you look at the two models side by side? Only then can you see how far technology has come. The iPhone 3G was 3.5 inches and had a 320 x 480 resolution. The iPhone 12 on the other hand is 6.7 inches and has a 1284 x 2778 resolution. The largest memory the iPhone 3G had was 16GB. The iPhone 12s smallest memory is 128gbs and the largest memory is 512gbs. How about the camera? The iPhone 3G had a 2MP camera while the iPhone 12 has a 12MB camera. I think I have made my point. Technology is rapidly advancing and constantly changing. Most of our electronics do too. Yet, North Dakota still uses the old Intoxilyzer 8000 for conducting chemical breath tests. Now you are probably asking yourself, what is the Intoxilzyer 8000? Before we get to the Intoxilyzer 8000, it is important to know what types of chemical testing exist.
In North Dakota, after an officer places an individual under arrest for DUI, they can request a chemical test to determine the presence of alcohol and/or drugs. This can be either a breath, blood, or urine test. If an officer requests a blood or urine test, they need a warrant unless an exception to the warrant requirement applies. Because this normally requires more work, law enforcement officers normally request a chemical breath test. While an individual cannot be forced to submit to a chemical test, refusing a chemical test is a crime punishable in the same manner as DUI.
Intoxilyzer 8000 And Its Flaws
The Intoxilyzer 8000 is a chemical breath testing machine that is utilized throughout the state of North Dakota. The Intoxilyzer 8000 was manufactured over fifteen years ago and is even older than the iPhone 3G. Yet, the Intoxilyzer 8000 is the only chemical breath testing machine utilized in North Dakota. These machines are extremely complex and have many different moving parts. As such, the Attorney General’s Office has come up with the Approved Method for conducting breath tests with the Intoxilyzer 8000. But like most old technology, the Intoxilyzer 8000 has its fair share of problems. Gas cylinders/canisters can go bad, hoses can break, electronics can fail, and many other errors can occur with these old machines. Lucky for you, there are options so that you do not have to rely solely on the test results from the Intoxilyzer 8000.
“I WANT AN INDEPENDENT CHEMICAL TEST”
Pause. Before we go any further, reread this section’s title again. Then again. Then again. This language is very important. An individual has a statutory right to an independent test of their choosing in addition to the chemical test taken at the direction of a law enforcement officer. An individual is responsible for asserting their right to an independent test. This request must be clear and unambiguous. An officer has no duty to inform an individual of their right to an independent test.
Once a clear and unambiguous request is made, a law enforcement officer must give an individual a reasonable opportunity to take or make arrangements for their own independent test. While an officer does not have to transport an individual to a hospital for an independent test, they must at a bare minimum provide an individual with a phone to make arrangements for an independent test. If an individual is denied their right to an independent test of their choosing, the test administered by law enforcement may be suppressed (cannot be used against you) and/or charges can be dismissed.
Would you trust your calculator if you plugged in 2+2 and got 5? Most, if not all people would answer no. The same is true with a chemical test. Due to the issues and complications that plague the Intoxilyzer 8000, it is likely in your best interest to obtain your own independent test. If you do, make sure to provide a copy of those test results to your attorney.
Chemical tests and the machines that conduct them are extremely complex. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI, it is likely in your best interest to contact an attorney to review your case. For help with criminal matters in North Dakota or Minnesota, please contact Adam Justinger at SW&L Attorneys in Fargo at 701-297-2890. For future articles, check out our blog.
This article is for informational purposes only.