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Cincinnati Court of Appeals Rules on Admissibility of Intoxilyzer 8000


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The latest hot button issue in OVI law in Ohio is the admissibility of a certain breath alcohol test used by some police departments called the “Intoxilyzer 8000.”  Attorneys across the state of Ohio have challenged the admissibly of the results from this machine on several grounds.

So far, courts are split on the issue.  For example, one recent court decision out of Marietta found that the results are flawed, and prohibited the breath test results from being admitted at trial.

Hamilton County is the latest court to weigh in on the Intoxilyzer 8000 admissibility controversy.  In State v. Inman, 2014-Ohio-97, the Hamilton County (First District) Court of Appeals found that breath alcohol results from the Intoxilyzer 8000 machine are admissible in court.

The Trial Court

The defendant was pulled over on suspicion of an OVI.  He took a breath alcohol test and blew a .237.   In court, the defendant challenged the reliability breathalyzer machine  – the Intoxilyzer 8000 – on several grounds. 

A motion hearing followed.  At the hearing, the program administrator for alcohol and drug testing at the Ohio Department of Health testified.  The Hamilton County Municipal Court found that the City Of Cincinnati failed to comply with certain record keeping requirements and that the Ohio Department of Health failed to properly issue permits for breath alcohol test operators.

Therefore, the Hamilton County court granted the defendant’s motions to suppress, prohibiting any evidence of the results of the breath test from evidence at trial.   The City appealed. 

The Appeal

In the appeals court decision, the court first set out the standard it applies when considering breath test challenges.  Generally, the State of Ohio has to show “substantial compliance” with Ohio Department of Health regulations.  If the State shows substantial compliance, the tests will likely be admissible. 

Next, the court found that in fact the Ohio Department of Health did set out rules for issuing operator permits.   Finally, the Court found that the City of Cincinnati had in fact compiled with record keeping requirements.  For each breath test, there are two samples taken.  The lower test is the final breath-alchohol result.

Because of a computer error, data from tests administered for a one week period (for 10 people) were not uploaded properly.  However, the defendant was not one of those lost tests.

Consequently, the Hamilton County Court of Appeals reversed and found that the breath-alcohol tests were admissible.

Given the differing opinions on the subject from courts around Ohio, it is very likely this issue will end up in the Ohio Supreme Court.   If you have been charged with an OVI in Cincinnati, talk to a Cincinnati OVI attorney about your options, including the possibility of challenging the results of your breath- alcohol test.


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