Lexington Man Files Lawsuit Challenging Breathalyzer

A Lexington man has filed a lawsuit, questioning the effectiveness of the Intoxilyzer 5000. That's the breathalyzer police used to charge him with drunk driving.

The Lexington Police Department, along with police departments around the state, and across the country, use the Intoxilyzer 5000.

But some attorneys are questioning its reliability, saying it might say you are guilty of drinking and driving, when you're actually not.

The Intoxilyzer 500 is made in Owensboro. The lawsuit filed here in Lexington wants CMI, the maker of the breathalyzer, to turn over its source code. Lawyers say they just want to check that code out to make sure there aren't any bugs in it.

"What we want to do is discover how the machine functions, and learn whether it's accurate," Lexington attorney Hal Kirtley said.

CMI officials, along with state officials, say the Intoxilyzer 5000 is scientifically reliable. And police departments agree, saying they've not had any problems with the machine.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals has asked CMI to reveal the source code in the near future. If the company doesn't comply, the Kentucky Supreme Court may step in.

CMI officials say they're reluctant to give out the source code, because it could provide an advantage to their competition.

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