Upcoming court case could change rules for DWIsby Brandt Williams, Minnesota Public Radio
Minneapolis — Local law enforcement officials say an upcoming court case could have a significant impact on how they charge and prosecute DWI cases.
This fall, a judge will listen to arguments about the accuracy of the Intoxilyzer, an instrument widely used to measure the level of alcohol intoxication of a person suspected of drunken driving. Defendants have asked to examine the code used to program the machines.
On Tuesday morning, a few hundred attorneys and people charged with drunk driving met in Minneapolis to prepare for the upcoming case.
Derek Patrin, an attorney representing people charged with drunk driving, said his clients have a right to know if the machines used to charge them with DWI are working correctly.
"That's what we're looking for ... that it's all -- backwards and forwards, inside and out -- that it's set up correctly," he said.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said there's no evidence to show there's anything wrong the Intoxilyzer.
"But I think much like DNA, now the science is very well-accepted -- Intoxilyzers are as well," he said. "They have to calibrated and have to be checked and the science that does that is pretty good now."
Minneapolis city officials say if the judge finds problems with the Intoxilyzer, the city may have to throw out 18 DWI cases.