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NCJ Number: 119571 Find in a Library
Title: Breath Alcohol Machines: Evidence Foundation Requirements in Illinois
Journal: John Marshall Law Review  Volume:22  Issue:1  Dated:(Fall 1988)  Pages:1-68
Author(s): G Sapir; M Giangrande; A Peters
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 68
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Illinois has promulgated specific laws concerning the operation and maintenance of breath alcohol equipment to assure the reliability of chemical breath analysis for persons charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.
Abstract: The laws are part of the basic foundational requirements of breath alcohol machines and must be part of trial court records. Breath test evidence is like any other relevant, circumstantial evidence; test results are inadmissible unless the proper foundation is created. Rules of evidence should not be ignored in order to obtain convictions of persons charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. Regardless of a breath alcohol machine's statutory approval and sophistication, the movant must still meet evidentiary requirements. An essential element of the movant's prima facie case is an appropriate evidential foundation. Breath test results are only as reliable as the machine, operator, and procedures involved. The movant's failure to create a proper foundation will bar test results as evidence. Alternatively, the defendant's failure to hold the movant to his or her foundational burden will facilitate the admission of test results as evidence. If attorneys do not properly prepare their cases, or if they routinely stipulate to breath test results, the breath alcohol machine may be transformed into a police officer's "dream machine." If attorneys do not educate the judge and jury on breath alcohol machines, including evidentiary requirements, the use of test results may usurp the function and purpose of legal safeguards. Appendixes contain additional information on breath alcohol machine use in Illinois. 201 references.
Main Term(s): Alcohol consumption analysis
Index Term(s): Driving Under the Influence (DUI); Evidence identification; Illinois; Rules of evidence
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