Preliminary Breath Test Devices

It is common for a DUI suspect to be asked to blow into a portable, hand held breath machine before they are arrested for a DUI. The police should advise a suspect that this device is not mandatory and even if a person voluntarily blows into it, they are still required to submit to an additional breath test or blood test after they have been arrested for DUI. However, in my experience, the police rarely tell people that the preliminary breath machine is voluntary, and simply say "Blow into this". If a suspect refuses, they are then treated as being uncooperative and are arrested anyway.

The preliminary alcohol screening device or PAS test is a hand held breath machine used by police agencies as a field sobriety test. The intention is that it is a tool to determine whether to arrest someone for DUI or let them go. However, the reading on the device is normally considered admissable in court and can be very damaging, particularly if the reading is higher than any breath test or blood test taken after arrest.

It is normally advisable to decline to blow into the PAS device, and insist on a chemical test at the police station.

In Orange County DUI cases, the police may also use a hand held breath machine as a chemical test after a lawful arrest. It is common there for a suspect to blow into the device before and after arrest. Ofcourse, following an arrest a suspect may insist on a blood test instead.

The results of a PAS test can sometimes help in defending a DUI case. If the readings on the device are lower than a subsequent chemical test, this evidence can be relied on to show that a defendants blood alcohol level was rising from the point of driving to the eventual chemical test, so that a defendant may have been under the legal limit at the time of driving.

If you have any questions about the above, please call Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer, Nigel Witham for a free consultation.

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