Portable Breath Tests (PBT)

On Behalf of | Nov 16, 2015 | PBT

Portable Breath Tests (PBTS) are tests that the police use to allegedly measure the level of alcohol in an individual’s system. The way Portable Breath Tests work is that an accused is asked to breath into a small handheld machine so that the machine can measure the amount of alcohol in the person’s body. Typically PBTS are used by the police as a law enforcement tool in cases where the police suspect that an individual is under the influence of alcohol. This normally occurs in cases concerning allegations of Driving Under the Influence, DUI license suspensions Underage Drinking and perhaps Disorderly Conduct charges. If someone is being investigates for one of those crimes, they should expect to be asked by the police to submit to a PBT.

Recently, the admissibility of Portable Breath Tests has come under fire in the state of Pennsylvania. The higher courts in Pennsylvania have held that the results of Portable Breath Tests are not admissible in court against a criminal defendant because they are so unreliable. Accordingly, in cases where a criminal defendant is charged with Driving Under the Influence or Underage Drinking, Defending DUI cases courts have found that the results of Portable Breath Tests are not admissible in court.

So why do the police continue to use Portable Breath Tests when the results of these tests are no longer admissible in court against a criminal defendant? The answer is that the results from PBT’s can give the police probable cause, in instances of Driving Under the Influence cases, to ask an individual to consent to having his blood drawn so that it can be measured for alcohol. Accordingly, if you or a loved one are being investigated for Driving Under the Influence, Underage Drinking or Disorderly Conduct, make sure that you hire an experienced Chester County DUI lawyer to represent you.

FindLaw Network