Should I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test
Should I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test is a blog designed for educational purposes and only addresses the Preliminary Breathalyzer Test or PBT. The information provided is not meant to be substituted for legal advice from a licensed attorney.
According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTA), nearly 30 people die every day as a result of drunk driving crashes, which equates to roughly one person every 48 minutes, (nhta.gov). When a driver is stopped with the suspicion of driving under the influence, there are several steps that occur prior to an arrest being made, with one them being a preliminary breathalyzer test (PBT).
What is a Preliminary Breathalyzer Test or PBT?
A PBT is a portable machine that an officer can carry in their vehicle. It uses the amount of alcohol exhaled into the machine to determine a person’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). It is used as part of the battery of field sobriety tests that an officer can give to a driver suspected to be under the influence. In the state of Kansas, use of a PBT is not considered proof of a driver’s BAC, but instead confirms the presence of alcohol. In the state of Missouri, there are certain PBT’s that can be utilized as the Evidentiary Blood Test in determining BAC.
Are PBT’s accurate?
There are factors that can affect the accuracy of a PBT. Human error can cause inaccurate readings, software malfunction, use of some common cold medications, or certain physical conditions to name a few.
Should I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?
By the time a driver is requested to blow into a PBT, the officer has developed reasonable suspicion of impairment through visual cues, conversation and results from the administered Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST’s). SFST’s are certified by the NHTA and must be administered in a specific way to determine a driver’s intoxication. It is important to note that there are no criminal penalties for the refusal of these tests. However, once probable cause has been established in support of an arrest, despite the refusal of SFST’s or the PBT, the driver is read their Miranda Rights, placed under arrest and transported to the police station for further Evidentiary Tests. When your driver’s license was issued, you agreed to Implied Consent Laws, which states, a driver agrees to provide a breath, blood, or urine sample when properly requested. Refusal of these Evidentiary Tests does come with more severe consequences.
Being pulled over by a police officer is not an experience that is enjoyable for any reason, sober or impaired. Driving is a privilege, not a constitutional right and doing so under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in every state. If you are in need of an experienced DUI/DWI attorney to fight for your rights, contact the Law Offices of Reginald Keith Davis at (913) 299-8789, licensed in both Kansas and Missouri.