Minnesota authorities use a breath testing machine know as the DataMaster DMT to check the BAC or blood alcohol content of a driver who may or may not have been driving while impaired or DWI.
The DataMaster DMT replaced the Intoxilyzer 5000EN, which has been used by the state for BAC testing procedures for several years. For five years, the Intoxilyzer 5000EN has been at the center of a legal battle initiated by a group of Minneapolis area DWI lawyers who question the machine’s accuracy and reliability.
How does the DataMaster DMT work?
When it comes to drunken driving cases, how a breath test machine actually works and the actual breath test result tend to be great mysteries. The DataMaster DMT uses infrared spectrophotometry, or an infrared light beam that measures an individual’s BAC from his or her breath, as alcohol, scientifically called Ethanol, absorbs infrared light.
The device captures the sample, which is the air that an individual breathes out, as infrared light enters the machine’s sample chamber. The Ethanol molecules in the chamber then vibrate, thus absorbing a substantial amount of infrared energy.
At the other end of the chamber, the amount of infrared energy and the individual’s breath sample are measured. The machine concludes that there is a presence of alcohol in the body if the energy that passes through the device’s chamber is less at the other end.
The DataMaster’s screen displays an individual’s breath flow, as well as his or her real-time alcohol absorption curve. It also determines how cooperative the individual was during the breath test.
The DataMaster then electronically stores all the information gathered in the system for future retrieval. It prints the individual’s breath profile information and a test ticket of the alcohol curve in full color to be used as support for a possible DWI case.
A closer look at the DataMaster DMT
The DataMaster DMT is basically an updated version of previous DataMasters, containing numerous new features and updates. To improve the device’s usability and functionality, it is equipped with a large display screen with a Windows-based interface. It utilizes a 32-bit, 520 MHz processor, a graphic touch screen in full-color, and comes with an efficient and effective sampling system.
An operator enters data in the DataMaster DMT through a keyboard. With modular instrument software, the device is easily adjustable to the various specifications set by authorities. Therefore, a device’s specifications may be set according to state laws.
The DataMaster DMT is also capable of both capturing and storing an individual’s breath profile, which is especially useful in implied consent cases or refusals to submit to breath tests.
Is the DataMaster DMT perfect?
When it comes to measuring a drunk driver’s BAC, the DataMaster DMT is considered to be much more accurate compared to the Intoxilyzer 5000EN. For this reason, the state decided to completely replace the latter. The new device’s electronic functionality is believed to be an improvement and more advanced than the Intoxilyzer 5000EN.
What people want to know is, “Is the DataMaster DMT perfect?” If the DataMaster deems an individual’s BAC to be above the legal limit, can the DWI case charged against an offender be challenged? The answer to both questions is yes.
Of course, it must be noted that the advancement in the DataMaster’s software does not necessarily make it perfect, and that the device is only as good as the individual who uses and maintains it. This means that if the police officer operates the DataMaster erroneously, then the results may be questioned.
As with other machines, the DataMaster DMT must be properly maintained for it to work properly, and the authorities must log all maintenance procedures. Based on records of the various states using this machine, authorities tend to neglect the importance of keeping a maintenance log.
Beating a Minnesota DWI charge
If there are any errors or discrepancies in the machine’s log, a DWI lawyer may be able to raise a legal issue stemming from these logging flaws, stating that improper maintenance may have caused an erroneous breath test result.
Another way to defend a DWI case would be to question the very nature of the arrest, even if the DataMaster results appear to be accurate. A competent DWI lawyer should gather all possible resources to uncover the nature of the arrest, and determine whether or not any factor of the arrest was faulty. After all, police officers do make mistakes. Officers sometimes fail to follow the rules of breath test administration, and presenting proof of an erroneous or faulty arrest may mean possibly beating your DWI charge in Minnesota, as well as the results of the DataMaster DMT.
An attorney must also take into account the offender’s medical history, as there are numerous conditions that may conflict with the DataMaster or any other breath-testing device. If a driver has issues with his or her respiratory or digestive system, for example, then it may be argued that the breath test result is not an accurate one.
Infrared light does not only absorb alcohol from the sample, but acetone, as well. Acetone is commonly present in diabetics, and the machine may mistakenly read the acetone as alcohol. If the device detects alcohol in the breath sample, it may not know which part of the body the alcohol came from, whether from the lungs, mouth, or oral cavity. An individual with periodontal disease or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, for example, may have alcohol in the mouth or stomach, therefore contaminating the breath and mistakenly coming from the lungs. Being of a specific body temperature during the breath test may also cause an inflated breath test result.
Hiring a DWI Attorney in Minneapolis
As you can see, there are numerous ways to challenge the DataMaster DMT with the legal assistance of an experienced Minneapolis DWI lawyer. Our legal team has been challenging the results of alcohol breath testing for over 18 years. It is very important that you have a skilled attorney to review your breath test results for all possible defenses. If you have been charged with a DWI in Minnesota, immediately contact Douglas T. Kans of the Kans Law Firm.