PORTABLE BREATH TESTS - REFUSE REFUSE REFUSE
Portable Breath Tests (PBT) are used during traffic stops while investigating a potential DUI. The PBT invokes a portable breath test device that officers can use with minimal training. It’s typically done before the arrest, often within minutes of pulling you over. Officers will use the results of the PBT to consider whether to arrest you for DUI or not.
PBT'S INHERENTLY UNRELIABLEMost PBT's are notoriously unreliable. Unlike the breath test machines used in police precincts and crime labs, they have a wide margin of error from one sample to another. Similarly, they're susceptible to being tricked by traces of alcohol still in the mouth. While other breath test machines have a "slope detector" which helps screen out this trace alcohol, most portable PBT systems do not. For this and other reasons, they cannot be accurately calibrated or certified as "accurate".
IMPACT OF TEST RESULTS AND DEFENSESAlthough not admissible on the criminal charge of DUI, a PBT reading of .08 or greater will result in suspension of one's driving privileges and other non-criminal sanctions.
A myriad of defenses exist if you unwittingly make the mistake of submitting to a PBT. Those include:
Chewing Tobacco (or other organic material in one's mouth)
Diabetes or Low Carb Diet
GERD or Acid Reflux
Mints or Candy containing ethanol
Improper administration of test
The best way to deal with an offer of taking a PBT is to REFUSE IT.