Error Messages on Oregon’s Intoxilyzer 8000

Law enforcement believes that the Intoxilyzer 8000 is infallible and the most accurate of all breathalyzers in estimated blood alcohol content based on breath alcohol content. But the truth of the matter is that the Intoxilyzer 8000 machines fail to due their job 5-10% of the time they are asked to perform. Meaning, if the function of an Intoxilyzer 8000 is to test breath and produce a numeric estimate of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), the machines often can’t perform this basic function.

Intoxilyzer 8000 Breathalyzer

Incomplete Test Reports

Incomplete Test Reports can be differentiated from Complete Test Reports in several different ways:

  1. The Test Result will not contain any numerical information, a refusal, or an interfering
    substance detected statement.
  2. The instrument will print a statement clarifying the message contained in the Test Result
    location immediately underneath the Test Result location in the section titled “Additional
    Comments”. This clarification message will begin with the statement “Invalid Test” or “Invalid
    Sample” followed by additional descriptive information.
  3. If appropriate, the instrument will also print a “Suggested Corrective Action” statement to be
    read and acted on by the operator.
    Incomplete Test Reports should be reviewed by the operator. The Suggested Corrective Action
    statement on the Test Report will often contain the necessary information for the operator to re-initiate
    the testing sequence and obtain a Complete Test Report.

Interfering Substance Detected

This exception will occur when a substance other than alcohol (e.g., acetone, toluene, etc.) was
detected in the breath sample. The subject may be suffering from a dangerous medical condition.
The instrument will display “Interferent Detected” and print “*Invalid Test – Interfering
Substance Detected”. The test is complete and should not be restarted.
In addition, the following suggested corrective action is provided: 1) The operator should
discontinue the Implied Consent process. 2) Ask the subject about diabetes, fasting, and solvent
exposure. If diabetic, consider EMS assistance. 3) Consider requesting a voluntary blood sample
from the subject or obtain a warrant. 4) Any observations made by the Operator during the testing
sequence may be recorded in the comments section.

Improper Sample

This exception will occur when a subject blows into the mouthpiece at an improper time during the
testing sequence. The instrument will display “Improper Sample” and print “*Invalid Test –
Improper Sample”. The test is not complete and can be restarted.

Check Ambient Conditions

This exception will occur when alcohol, or a contaminant, is being introduced into the sample
chamber from the surrounding room air during the “Air Blank”. The instrument will display
“Ambient Fail” and print “*Invalid Test – Check Ambient Conditions”. The test is not complete
and can be restarted.

Purge Fail

This exception occurs when the instrument was unable to purge the sample cell after running a
breath test. This may be due to the purge pump not operating or the breath path being obstructed.
The instrument will display “Purge Fail” and print “*Invalid Test – Purge Fail”. The test is not
complete and can be restarted.

Subject Test Refused

This exception occurs when the operator terminates the testing sequence because the subject
refused to continue. The instrument will display “Subject Test Refused” and print “*Subject Test
Refused”. The test is complete and should not be restarted unless terminated in error by the
operator. If the test was terminated in error, the test may be restarted by the operator.

No Sample Given

This exception occurs when the subject did not blow hard enough into the instrument to activate
the audible tone during the breath sampling period. The instrument will display “No Sample
Given” and print “*Invalid Test – No Sample Given”. The test is not complete and can be
restarted.

Residual Alcohol Present

This exception occurs when residual alcohol was detected in the subject’s mouth or upper
respiratory tract. This could be the result of recent consumption of alcohol or having vomited or
regurgitated liquid from the stomach into the mouth. The instrument will display “Residual
Alcohol Present” and print “*Invalid Sample – Residual Alcohol Present”. The test is not
complete and can be restarted.

RFI Detected

This exception occurs when a radio or cellular phone transmission is detected near the instrument.
The instrument will display “RFI Detected” and print “*Invalid Test – RFI Detected”. The test is
not complete and can be restarted.

Unstable Signal

This exception occurs when the instrument could not obtain a stable reference during the testing
sequence. The instrument will display “Unstable Signal” and print “*Invalid Test – Unstable
Signal”. The test is not complete and can be restarted.

Subject Sample Correlation Failure

This exception occurs when the subject did not provide two similar valid breath samples. This
could be a result of improper breath sample delivery or residual alcohol in the subject’s upper
respiratory tract. The instrument will display “Sample Corr. Fail” and print “*Invalid Test –
Subject Sample Correlation Failure”. The test is not complete and can be restarted.

Sequence Aborted by Operator

This exception occurs when the operator aborts the testing sequence. The instrument will display
“Sequence Aborted” and print “*Invalid Test – Sequence Aborted by Operator”. The test is
not complete and can be restarted.

Range Exceeded

This exception occurs when the test result was higher than 0.60 %BAC. This could be due to a
high concentration of residual alcohol in the subject’s mouth or upper respiratory tract from recent
consumption of alcohol or having vomited or regurgitated liquid from the stomach into the mouth.
The instrument will display “Range Exceeded” and print “*Invalid Sample – Range Exceeded”.
The test is not complete and can be restarted.

Control Out of Tolerance

This exception occurs when the result obtained by the instrument during the testing of the external
ethanol breath standard is out of tolerance. The instrument will display “Control Outside
Tolerance” and print “*Invalid Test – Control Out of Tolerance”. The test is not complete and
can be restarted.

Diagnostic Failure

This exception occurs when the instrument fails the Diagnostic routine. The instrument displays
“Diagnostic Fail” and prints “*Invalid Test – Diagnostic Fail”. The test is not complete and can
be restarted.

Deficient Sample

This exception occurs when the subject did not blow long enough with sufficient force to properly
provide a sample during the breath sample period. The instrument will display “Deficient
Sample” and print “*Invalid Test – Deficient Sample”. The test is not complete and can be
restarted unless the operator determines that the subject is physically incapable of providing a
proper sample.

Other Error Codes and Recommended Corrective Actions

For more detailed information on the error messages or exception codes, please see the Oregon Intoxilyzer 8000 Operator’s Guide or Oregon Intoxilyzer 8000 Administrator’s Guide.

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If you are looking to retain an attorney who has been to an Intoxilyzer 8000 operator’s course, and an attorney who has fought the machine and won, please contact our office to schedule a paid consultation.

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