Flow Sensor Intoxilyzer 8000 Problems – Laura Barfield Explains…

Update: April 2, 2013: Ding Dong. Laura Barfield is gone… from FDLE’s alcohol breath testing program. Something about she resigned or was fired or “FDLE is moving in a new direction.” Make a comment if you know why.

Update: April 6, 2013: Looks like the official reason she is leaving can be found in FDLE’s internal investigation report. Laura Barfield was accused of violating Rule 11I-1.011(2),  to wit: FDLE Police 1.4 Use of Resources.

According to the internal investigation by FDLE, an anonymous source asserted that the head of FDLE’s Alcohol Testing Program misused her state assigned vehicle for over a ten year period of time in order to facilitate a personal relationship with Eber Brown when she was suppost to be traveling to and from court appearance throughout the State of Florida. Eber Brown “retired” as the Deputy County Administrator of Citrus County, FL, in 2011.

That investigation turned into even more of a scandal when FDLE alleged that she improperly charged thousands of dollars of personal expenses to her FDLE credit card including $2,700 worth of Carnival Cruiselines tickets as well more than $3,800 to businesses including TJ Maxx, Walmart, Ross, Walgreens, and Piggy’s BBQ. Apparently, she will not be arrested or charged with a crime. In fact, FDLE is taking the position that she resigned before any disciplinary action could be taken. FDLE kept the investigation secret from judges and defense attorneys as Laura Barfield continued to crisscross the state to testify as the State’s expert.

Read the official FDLE report here: FDLE_Internal_Investigation_-_Laura_Barfield

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0Igk37YPwE]

Jan 13, 2012: So can it get worse for Laura Barfield, the director of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s (FDLE) Alcohol testing program?

Watch the video below to hear Laura Barfield testify about problems with the Intoxilyzer 8000’s flow sensor. In the middle of her testimony, she asks to retract the last 5 minutes of her testimony because she becomes confused.

Florida DUI Attorneys and their experts have been questioning the top officials with FDLE’s alcohol testing program about problems with the Intoxilyzer 8000, the breathalyzer used throughout Florida after a DUI arrest. Leading the way is Sarasota County DUI Attorney, Robert Harrison.

What’s the problem? When you blow into the machine you must blow 1.1 liters of air in one continuous breath before the machine will determine that a sufficient example exists and provide an estimate of the subject’s breath alcohol content (called BrAC).

You can look at the data and clearly see that the Intoxilyzer 8000 is reporting the individual blew 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or even 9 liters of air (one even reported 16 liters of air) in one continuous breath. Basic science tells us that anything over 4 liters of air is highly unlikely. Anything with 6 liters or more is completely impossible.

So the flow sensor on the Intoxilyzer 8000 instrument that calculates or estimates volume is WRONG. The instrument is not calibrated correctly because it is over-stating the volume.

But what about those cases in which the instrument is under-stating volume? In other words, the person blew more than the required 1.1 liters of air but the Intoxilyzer 8000 reported an insufficient sample?

FDLE describes it as the instrument “being really hard to blow into.” For those individuals, they will be counted as having refused to provide a sufficient sample even though they really did blow a sufficient sample.

We call these cases the “machine refusal” because the refusal results from the error message reported by the instrument. The breath test operator will say the person was “faking” or “pretending to blow when really they were faking it.”

Many of those people were falsely charged with DUI refusal, had a one-year suspension of their driver’s license and may have been convicted of DUI because of a problem with the instrument. Innocent people were necessarily falsely accused.

When confronted with the implications of her testimony, Laura Barfield, retracts her previous statement. The judge says so for the last five minutes you get a “never mind”? How can the Intoxilyzer 8000 “instrument” be trusted at all if the volume of air is incorrect? If the flow is incorrectly calibrated when no reading can be trusted because we will never know whether the instrument really analyzed a sufficient sample or an insufficient sample.

If we can’t trust the “volume” reading, why should we believe the other readings like the BrAC (or Breath Alcohol Concentration) result?

I’m glad Stephen Daniels with DUI undo Consultants, LLC, shared the link to this video with me. The graphics combined with the audio are terrific.

Read more about the Intoxilyzer 8000 Flow Sensor Problems in Florida.


  1. This probably explains why a bit later on 4-2-13 she was “let go” by the FDLE, as Attorney Don Ramsell of Illinois has pointed out to colleagues.

    Ed Fitzgerald

  2. Casey,

    Thanks for the documentation of the final result. What a great example. Tis an instance when justice can be served on behalf of the defendant. To thik that some people could have been falsely charged with blowing a fake sample is a pity. I’m glad that in the end faulty technology was not holding criminal offenses over people’s heads unjustly.

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