Accurate DWI Results are a Real Challenge

Breathalyzers are like any other machine. If they are not properly used, or if they are not properly calibrated, the machine will return inaccurate results. In order for these devices to be effective, they must be used and calibrated to exacting specifications. The more a breathalyzer is used, the more likely it is to malfunction.

Common problems with breathalyzer results known to DWI lawyers in Minneapolis is that they cannot differentiate between alcoholic beverages, and the types of alcohol the digestion of certain foods can cause. Foods high in yeast and sugar for example can produce false results. This is because of the process known as ketosis during which the body burns fat for energy. The process produces isopropyl alcohol which is different than the ethanol found in alcoholic beverages. However, breathalyzers cannot tell the difference between the two.

Another problem is that if an individual has an elevated body temperature, from say a cold or flu, it can change the reading. It can be a significant change that can range between 6.5 and 9%. This is more than enough to sway a breathalyzer reading over the legal limit in Minnesota.

Medical conditions can also impact the accuracy of breathalyzer readings. Conditions such as heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease can cause digestive fluid to enter the mouth. When this happens, this can increase the amount of alcohol a breathalyzer picks up in its reading. Given the fact that these are very common medical conditions, and that under Minnesota’s mandatory DWI testing laws many opt for roadside breathalyzer tests, these two conditions alone have the potential to bring into question the accuracy of a large number of breathalyzer tests.

In Minnesota, breathalyzer results processed through the Minnesota Crime Lab are currently being challenged. That is because of the way the state calculates device bias and the way the measurements are recorded. The concern is that innocent people are being convicted of DWI when in reality they were under the legal limit when the breathalyzer was performed. It is quite possible the outcome of these challenges will impact DWI results and cases throughout the state.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Minnesota recently passed a public safety bill that brings sweeping changes to the state’s juvenile justice system. While minors sometimes run afoul of the law, the juvenile justice system seeks to account for the differences between children and adults. Therefore, while the penalties for adults convicted of crimes focus on punishment, those for juveniles are aimed at diversion and restorative practices.
If a county medical examiner’s work is called into question in one case, it can affect all those they were a part of. An independent review is underway of murder cases involving the testimony of the long-time medical examiner in Ramsey County, Minnesota. The review comes in response to a wrongful murder conviction that was recently vacated on the basis that the medical examiner gave flawed medical testimony.
You might ask how plea bargains work if you are considering settling your criminal case by skipping the trial phase. A plea bargain in Minneapolis, MN, happens when a criminal defendant agrees to plead guilty or no contest instead of having the prosecution prove his or her guilt at trial. The prosecution agrees to reduce the charges, recommend less harsh penalties, or drop the charges altogether in exchange for a guilty plea.