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Ohio Supreme Court Rules on Contesting Breath Analyzer Machine Evidence

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Affirming the appellate court's decision, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled today that anyone accused of OVI can challenge breath analyzer machine evidence.

The ruling was the result of a 2011 accident in Cincinnati. The defendant lost control of his vehicle which resulted in property damage, but no injuries. Police used the Intoxilyer 8000 after the arrest to determine the driver's blood alcohol content. He tested 0.143.

The driver pled not guilty to his OVI charge and filed a motion to suppress the Intoxilyzer 8000 evidence, asking the city to produce records such as breath testing archives (COBRA data). The city failed to produce the requested records. Since the defendant could not challenge the breath test evidence without these records, the trial court dismissed this evidence.

Although the city appealed, the First District Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's decision to exclude the evidence from the breath test.

In a written statement about the decision, Justice O'Donnell said,

Ilg (the defendant) sought discovery of relevant, admissible evidence, and the trial court ordered the city to produce it, but because neither the city nor [the health department] complied with the order to produce, the trial court excluded the results of his breath test, and the court of appeals upheld that decision," Justice O'Donnell wrote. "Here, the sanction is warranted

For more information about this case, see the official court documents – Cincinnati v. Ilg, Slip Opinion No. 2014-Ohio-4258.