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A Critical Examination of Breath Testing Assumptions and Techniques
By Edward L. Fiandach
Lately, there has been much discussion in newsgroups, list servers and the media concerning source codes and their logical legal imperative, source code litigation. Simply put, source codes are the computer instructions followed by a computing device in processing information. A review of the source codes employed in the processing of a breath test would be worthwhile to determine whether the device is actually following the parameters set out by the manufacturer. Notwithstanding that such a review has proven difficult, there have been successes.
Several Florida counties have ruled that the defense is entitled to the Intoxilyzer™ source codes, and an older Washington state analysis of DataMaster™ source codes revealed numerous difficulties with the software. Undoubtedly there will be more such challenges, but what seems to be lost in the midst of this litigation is an examination of the premises underlying breath testing generally. This article reviews some of the more salient issues.
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