Rochester City Court Judge Leticia Astacio, who was convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) last August, is expected to argue that her interlock failed and caused her to have a false positive, according to a news story from a Rochester station.
Intoxalock’s Direct of Government Relations, Brad Fralick, explains just how accurate ignition interlock devices are and outlines how slim the likelihood is of the device actually failing.
“Ignition interlock devices are accurate to five thousandths of one percent (0.0005) to prevent false readings,” Fralick explained. Interlocks are designed to pick up on any source of alcohol so while there may be other explanations for what the device read, that doesn’t clear a potential violation.
To better illustrate how an interlock device works, Vinnie Coons of Vargas Auto Repair and Collision provided a demonstration. Coons is a certified installer of Intoxalock ignition interlock devices in the state of New York.
View the entire demonstration here
Coons starts the vehicle with no problems and when asked to provide a random retest, puts alcohol-based mouthwash in his mouth before providing the sample. His next breath sample is a failed one.
It was during a request for a random retest that Judge Astacio provided a breath sample that registered a breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) of .051. Even though this is under the legal limit, it was a condition of her sentence that she would not drink alcohol so Astacio was in violation.
Fralick explained how a contaminant like mouthwash will show different dissipation patterns in the users BrAC. With a contaminant, it would not take long to get a clean follow-up reading.
“Unlike a beverage that has to be metabolized, this evaporates quickly,” said Fralick.
Fralick goes on to explain that even if the result was a positive reading due to mouthwash, Judge Astacio won’t necessarily be left off the hook.
Records show Astactio’s daughter provided the initial breath sample needed to start the vehicle before the violation occurred. New York law would require the judge to shut off the vehicle and reactivate the interlock device before getting behind the wheel. According to prosecutors, this wasn’t done. Astacio will be back in court on March 3.