RFI on Intoxilyzer 8000 in Florida
Can Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) inflate the breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) reading on the Intoxilyzer 8000 breathalyzer used in Florida?
Any type of radio transmitter, including police radios and cellular phone, emit radio waves. The Intoxilyzer 8000 was designed to be protected from radio waves because of its metal cover and shielding around power supplies and to terminate a test in progress if it detects a certain threshold of RFI.
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The Intoxilyzer 8000 was developed before cell phones were being used. Now it is now uncommon for several individuals in the breath testing room to carry a cell phone. The cell phones typically emit a lower threhold of radio waves than police radios.
CMI, the manufacturer of the Intoxilyzer 8000, paid for a study of Radiated Radio Frequency Susceptibility in 1983. The participates in the study measured readings from the Intoxilyzer under different RFI conditions with different distances and field strengths to determine whether the machines were property functioning.
Can Cell Phones Be Used to Manipulate the Intoxilyzer 8000 Inspections?
At least one employee of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Margaret "Maggie" Geddings, was forced to admit that she used a cell phone to manipulate the Intoxilyzer 8000 during the departmental inspections used to see if the machine is working properly.
By holding a cell phone or police radio up to the Intoxilyzer 8000, Maggie Geddings was effectively able to hide evidence that the Intoxilyzer 8000 was unable to pass a monthly inspection. Assistant State Attorney Adrienne Emerson along with Investigator Renee Pelotte from the State Attorney's Office took this sworn statement from Maggie Geddings, former FDLE Departmental Inspector.
This sworn statement is now being provided as exculpatory Brady material to criminal defense attorneys in Okaloosa County. It is really amazing that a prosecutor would insist on getting a sworn statement from a FDLE Departmental Inspector to document exactly how the inspections are being falsified.
Although one could argue that using a cell phone to intentionally hide evidence that the Intoxilyzer 8000 was failing a monthly inspection, no one really expects Maggie Geddings to be investigated or prosecuted for this conduct. It calls into question the integrity of Florida's alcohol testing program because if FDLE inspectors are teaching agency inspectors how to hide evidence no reading from the Intoxilyzer 8000 should be trusted.
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This article was last updated on Friday, January 5, 2018.