From 1999 through the first half of 2016, Alabama exclusively used the Draeger 7110 MK-III for breath alcohol testing throughout the state. That is changing. The Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS) is now implementing a new breath alcohol testing device, the Intoximeter Datamaster DMT-FC. It will be in use very soon; the latter part of 2016 or early 2017. The device, which we will refer to as the DMT for brevity, was manufactured originally at National Patent Analytical Systems (NPAS), located in Mansfield, Ohio. Intoximeters, Inc. bought the breath test section of NPAS and will be the supplier of the devices to the state. Intoximeters, Inc. has added a fuel cell to the DMT along with some other tweaks for Alabama. The photo above is the Alabama version of the DMT. It claims to have duel technology, both infrared and electrochemical. It has a touchscreen, an electronic driver’s license reader, and a keyboard. There are three canisters of dry gas for calibration checks at three alcohol content levels. There will be a calibration check (cal-check) for all tests at a .02%. If a person blows a reading of .15% or higher, another cal-check will be done from a .15% dry gas canister. If a person blows a reading of below .15%, then the second cal-check will be done from the .08% canister. As the name “Datamaster” implies, the device will accumulate and store a lot of data, which is capable of being retrieved at a later time. Unlike its predecessor, there will be no breath temperature correction on the Alabama DMT, but there will be a reduction of every test result of approximately 10 per cent. The DMT also has shielding for radio frequency interference (RFI) as well as an external antenna for picking up any RFI.
The DMT for Alabama has an added feature that is not included on DMT machines in any other state. This added feature is an electrochemical fuel cell added in an effort to have a “duel technology” device. The Alabama DMT is known as the DMT-FC. The FC stands for fuel cell.
As of this writing in October of 2016, approximately 26 Datamaster DMT-FC breath-test devices are in the hands of the Department of Forensic Sciences, and more are on the way. One could say with a straight face that Alabama is reverting to 1970’s technology in the breath-testing program. Alabama is going back to the 3.5 micron wavelength measurement area on the infrared spectra and back to using the chopper wheel for breaking up the signal, both of which it had moved away from when it adopted the Draeger in 1999. Technology continues to change and more and more information can be retained by the software and retrieved long after a citizen takes a breath test.
One of the reasons for Alabama’s change from Draeger to Datamaster is the lack of availability of parts for the aging Draeger Alcotest 7110 devices. The state of Alabama has been using the Draeger since 1999. We will soon have new issues to defend on this new piece of equipment.
The 2015-16 version of the Alabama DUI Handbook has arrived just in time for the holiday! This comprehensive DUI practice guide written by nationally renowned DUI defense attorney Phillip B. Price contains a wealth of information and practice material. Over the years it has proven an invaluable resource for Alabama attorneys who represents those accused of DUI. It is available for purchase through Thomson Reuters at http://legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/law-products/Treatises/Alabama-DUI-Handbook-2015-2016-ed/p/101130013. You can also get more information about the book at www.alabamaduihandbook.com.
More Xanax DUIs in Alabama than Marijuana
Most people associate DUI with alcohol, but a person can be arrested in Alabama for DUI without any allegation that the person consumed any alcohol. A person can be charged with driving under the influence of a controlled substance, the combined influence of alcohol and a controlled substance, or for driving under any substance that renders him or her incapable of safely operating a vehicle. No one is surprised that the majority of DUI’s involve alcohol. And most of us would guess that marijuana is the second leading cause of DUI in Alabama. Shockingly, this is wrong. The second leading cause of DUI in Alabama is actually the prescription drug Xanax and its generic form, alprazolam. (See, http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2015/06/xanax_passes_marijuana_as_seco.html). This brings up an important point. The fact that a prescription drug was prescribed to you by a doctor is NOT a defense to DUI. If a legal prescription drug renders you unable to safely drive, then it is illegal to drive in that condition.
HPD to Increase Focus on Governors Drive
The Huntsville Police Department announced that it intends to devote more resources to reducing driver speed on Governors Drive between California Street and Monte Sano Boulevard. Anyone familiar with this stretch of roadway knows its narrow lanes and curves. For the sake of your wallet, your safety, and the safety of other, please watch your speed, and, as always, do not drive under the influence. http://www.hsvcity.com/police/News_Releases 202015/News_Release 2010_02_15_.htm
If you were charged with a crime as an adult in Alabama, then you should be aware that there are police and court records about your arrest and court case, even if you were found not guilty or the charges were disposed of in your favor. There is good news, though, because in April of 2014 the Alabama Legislature passed a new expungement law.
Expungement is a term you may not have heard of before. it means to zap, clear or erase something. Alabama’s new expungement law provides a method by which people who were charged with a crime but who were found not guilty or had the charge disposed of in their favor can get their police and court records expunged. With limited exceptions, if a potential employer or other entity contacts the police department or court to ask about the expunged case, the police and court must answer that they have no record of the incident.
Employers often reject people with past criminal charges who they otherwise would have hired. When a person who has been granted an expungement is asked in an interview or on a job application “have you ever been arrested or charged with a crime,” in most circumstances the person will legally be able to answer “NO.” Learn more...
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