NYPD’s DWI Arrest Manual LEAKED: What Police Look For in a Sobriety Test

October 17, 2013 in Freedom of Information

United States Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandies famously wrote a century ago, “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” See Other People’s Money And How The Bankers Use It (1914). This adage has been taken to heart as the clarion call for the benefits of open government. Transparency is important at every level of government – local, state, and federal. Citizens should have access to the policies, practices, and procedures that government officials rely on when implementing and enforcing the law.


Photo Credit Flickr User minimoniotaku

Law Enforcement Policies Should Be Public Knowledge

The Law Offices of Adam D. Perlmutter tries to advance government transparency in every stage of our work. This is why we filed a lawsuit against the NYPD under New York’s Freedom of Information Law to force disclosure of maintenance records for the breathalyzer machines (Intoxilyzer 5000ENs) used by New York City law enforcement officials. We are currently awaiting a decision in Matter of Law Offices of Adam D. Perlmutter, P.C. v. NYPD, which we discussed in a previous blog post. We believe that the public has a right to know about the calibration, repair and maintenance of breath testing machines in New York City.

Along that line, we are publishing the following document that we obtained in another case about the techniques and procedures used by the NYPD Highway District Commands for its Intoxicated Drivers Testing Units. We were amazed at how rudimentary this manual appears, especially in light of the number of DWI arrests that take place in New York City each year. In 2012 alone, there were approximately 10,000 arrests for DWI made by New York City law enforcement officials.

We were also concerned about the lack of instruction on how to properly use the Intoxilyzer 5000EN contained in this manual. Of its 103 pages, only a few are dedicated to the operation of the Intoxilyzer 5000EN machines. From our experience, the instructions regarding the use of portable breath tests are routinely disregarded.  Unfortunately, it seems like NYPD officers are often unaware of what is in their own manuals.

There were approximately ten thousand DWI arrests in New York City last year.  We hope that our readers and colleagues will be able to make good use of this police manual to learn more about how the NYPD conducts its DWI investigations.

NYPD Highway Patrol: Procedural Guide for DWI Arrests

Use the table of contents to navigate the manual below.
nypd hp intoxilyzer 5000 en idtu procedural guide