DUIDLA Seminar with Ashley Schiavone
In a DUI case, there are many ways to demonstrate reasonable doubt about a breath test presented in court. Ashley Schiavone shared her expertise about this subject in a presentation about cross examination at the DUI Defense Lawyers Association (DUIDLA) seminar in Charleston last month. She presented her question outline for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation expert about the use of Georgia’s breath testing machine, the Intoxilyzer 9000.
The questions she presents, though specific to Georgia’s chosen breath test machine, could be applied to experts in other states. This cross examination is used when there are no glaring problems with the evidence, such as a defective breath result or a missing test slip. The main idea of the questioning is to expose the limitations and shortcomings of the Intoxilyzer 9000 in order to give the jury what a defense really needs: reasonable doubt.
Here is a sample of the general questioning that Ms. Schiavone presented at the DUIDLA Seminar:
- I want to ask you a true or false question- and you can explain your answer if you need to- but what I’m looking for is a TRUE or FALSE: The Intoxilyzer 9000 does a perfect job of calculating an accurate measurement of alcohol in a person’s body.
- Well, let me ask you this- TRUE or FALSE: The accuracy of the Intoxilyzer 9000 can be affected by a number of different variables and factors.
- You agree this machine is capable of error.
- In fact it has a 5% margin of error.
- You agree it’s accurate within 5% of the average breath test value.
- This machine has what’s known as measurement uncertainty. (Page 31-37, Intoxilyzer 9000 Manual)
Ms. Schiavone also includes a cross examination about many other potential shortcomings of the breath machine, including Breath and Volume Temperature, Comparison Studies, Mouth Alcohol, Observation Period and an outline to include particular facts about a specific case.