In this short video, Robert Ernenwein, a South Bay Criminal Defense Attorney with 30+ years of experience defending clients accused of DUI, discusses the DUI Stop and the Preliminary Alcohol Screening Test. Find answers to the following questions:
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A preliminary alcohol screening device is a small handheld device that the officer uses to take a breath test from you, a breath sample, at the scene of the traffic collision, ostensibly to make a determination as to whether or not you are impaired to such a degree of that they should place you under arrest.
So it’s part of the field sobriety test. It is not an official breath or blood test as required by law. In other words, even if you give a preliminary alcohol screening test, you will later be required to give a breath test at the station or a blood test under law.
So why should you take a preliminary alcohol screening test?
You probably shouldn’t. It’s generally not a good idea for you to submit to one. You have an absolute right to decline to give a preliminary alcohol screening test and it can’t be used against you in terms of suspending your license or increasing any punishment in court.
Now, of course, if you give a preliminary alcohol screening test and if you are below a .08, that could be extremely helpful and perhaps excuse you and get you out of a DUI arrest.
Let me also say this to you. By the time you have concluded the physical portion of the field sobriety test and the officer is now offering you the preliminary alcohol screening test, in my experience, you’re pretty much eighty or ninety percent on your way to a DUI arrest.
The preliminary alcohol screening test is usually just used, in my experience, to affirm the officer’s beliefs based upon your driving pattern, based upon his conversation with you, and the field sobriety test, that you should be arrested.
Again, the preliminary alcohol screening test, in a great majority of cases, is a bad idea. You are not required to give one and you should decline.