The BAC Accuracy Issues Rise Again

Concerns are beginning to rise as to the reliability of the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) results from the newly deployed DataMaster DMT-G devices in DWI cases. These new concerns come as the ongoing litigation involving similar concerns as to the accuracy of the Intoxilyzer 5000EN BAC readings remains unresolved by the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) purchased 280 devices from DataMaster to replace the Intoxilyzers that were being used by law enforcement agencies. The DataMaster devices were arguably purchased as a result of the ongoing litigation issues involving the Intoxilyzer devices. Only a few law enforcement agencies began using the new DataMaster devices in the fall of 2011. The BCA plans to complete the roll out of the DataMaster devices to the remaining law enforcement agencies by the end of the summer.

The concerns surrounding the new DataMaster devices relate to insufficient officer training, the device’s function, and the manner in which the BCA is operating the devices. Operators of the devices are only receiving roughly six hours of training prior to be authorized to use the DataMaster devices to measure a driver’s BAC. In addition, the BCA spent additional money in the acquisition of the DataMaster devices so that the devices would use both infrared and fuel-cell technology in measuring a driver’s BAC. The use of both technologies in one device is uncommon and was thought to boost the reliability of the BAC results. Ironically, the BCA has now disabled the fuel-cell technology as result of issues with the fuel-cell’s shelf life. The BCA states that they do not have reliability concerns with the DataMaster devices. The Intoxilyzer 5000EN, the subject of the ongoing BAC accuracy litigation, uses infrared technology only.

While the BCA may not believe there are reliability concerns involving the DataMaster devices, it appears that the BCA’s actions may be giving rise to a new round of challenges by criminal defense attorneys as to the reliability of BAC readings in DWI cases.

What does this mean to me?

The technology and issues involved with a charge of DWI are complex. If you have or believe you will soon face charges for DWI, it is important to contact an experienced Minneapolis Criminal Defense attorney for a free consultation.