City of Tuscaloosa v. Stalnaker, 868 So. 2d 481 (Ala. Crim. App. 2002)

Phillip Boyd Price Sr.

Practice Area:DUI / DWI

Outcome:(Not available)

Description:This case was the first appellate case in the State of Alabama involving the breath testing device known as Draeger MKIII-C. In the Circuit Court of Tuscaloosa County, the issue before the trial court was the admissibility of the Draeger Alcotest MKIII-C breath test in Stalnaker’s DUI case. Stalnaker’s position was that her breath test was not performed pursuant to the rules approved by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS). Stalnaker also took the position that the test was not performed in a way to assure that the test was accurate and reliable in its result. When the City of Tuscaloosa tried to admit the results of the breath test into evidence, the City did not establish the rules had been followed for the Alcotest MKIII-C (the breath test used to test Stalnaker). The DFS test that was approved was the Alcotest MK-III and not the Alcotest MKIII-C. The City of Tuscaloosa also did not prove that the test operator had a valid permit for this particular breath testing device. Also, the City did not prove that the breath test device was in proper working order. The Circuit Court ruled to not allow the results of the breath test into evidence and the City of Tuscaloosa appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals. The Court of Criminal Appeals agreed with the ruling of the Circuit Court and did not allow the breath test into evidence.