Sunday, January 04, 2004
American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri
4557 Laclede Ave
Saint Louis, MO 63108-2103
Re: Administrative suspension of a Missouri Driver’s license
Last spring I was visiting The Lake of the Ozarks. I had arrived Friday evening. I had a couple of beers at the hotel and then went to Topsiders, a local night club. After leaving the club, I was pulled over for failure to use my blinker. To make along story short, they through the book at me. I was arrested for DWI and given the breathalyzer test. The arrest although specious on its face is not the issue, I am righting to you about.
My issue is with the administrative suspension, which was supposedly the result of my “Refusal to Blow.” I blew a steady tone for 16 seconds. And my license was suspended even though I blew a steady tone for 16 seconds.
There is no standard set of instruction for the test in Missouri. At first I was told to blow until the tone stopped. That is misleading on its face because the tone is directly linked to the stream of air and is intended to show that the subject is indeed blowing, and is not intended to be the controlling factor. To call the tone the controlling factor is like telling the horse pulling the cart to stop when the cart stops. The motion of both is inextricably linked. The horse stops then the cart/tone stops.
The second instruction I was given was to blow harder. And again blowing hard is misdirection in that the force of the blow is a waste of effort once the tone that sets the requirement is met.
On I finally figured it out. I asked the officer was there a time limit for how long you had to blow. He replied the machine requires a steady tone, a steady blow for approximate 20 seconds. I blew a steady stream of air for 15-16 seconds. The machine then rejected my sample as invalid.
I have since contacted the manufacturer of the breathalyzer:
National Patent Analytical Systems, Inc.
Post Office Box 1435
2090 Harrington Memorial Road
Mansfield, OH 44901
(800) 800-8143 toll free
(419) 526-9446 fax
The contact there replied as enclosed via e-mail. Now if there is a steady blow for 15-16 seconds the machine may still not register because of a hiccup in the machine or a hiccup or burp in the subject. But I should not be blamed for a hiccup.
My question to you is would you want to get involved in more clearly define the rules, the script and the adjudication of the administrative suspension, in the State of Missouri. I think the freedom afford to the arresting officer is being abused and is taking an individuals right to drive without the barest of minimum rights.
I would like to suggest that it be pursued to:
· Define the administration of the test, a script for the officer to give good information and only the pertinent info, no misleading information.
· Require that all cases be reviewed to see that they meet a minimum standard of proof.
· Set a standard of proof that defines when the test is to be administered and a refusal could be the result.
· The state of Missouri has no standard for any of the Sobriety test.
o Nothing on the walking test,
o Nothing HGN test
o Nothing on the breathalyzer test.
· All of the above tests are regularly administered with very haphazard methods and no consistency is aspired to or required.
Let me know where you stand and if I can be of any help. I am currently pursuing my rights as a pro se attorney in Camden County.
If there is anything further I can do for you in this regard, please let me know.
Thank you in advance.
David G. Jeep
David G. Jeep