Many clients often inquire why law enforcement required them to blow into multiple breathalyzer devices throughout the course of their DUI arrest. The answer is slightly more complex than one would initially think at first blush.
Generally, in an attempt to form probable cause to arrest you, and conduct further investigation, law enforcement will perform a myriad of field sobriety tests. We have talked about the complexity of these tests, and the fact that even a bright eyed and bushy tailed sober Olympian may have trouble performing these tests. Another form of a field sobriety test is the preliminary alcohol screening device (PAS) - this is that cute little machine that the officers usually pull out while on the scene and ask you to blow into. There are very strict regulations on the use of this machine, and fortunately for those arrested for DUI, the results are wildly inaccurate and seldom used in court for these reasons. The results are used however to form probable cause for your arrest.
Something very important to keep in mind is that the PAS test is OPTIONAL! So when law enforcement says something like “Ok – can you blow into this for me now”, your first questions should be whether it’s required or optional. Law enforcement often asks your permission for these tests in a way as not to make you think you have an option. Know your rights – this test is optional.
After a DUI related arrest, while at the station house, officers will once again request that you give either a blood or breathe sample as part of your Implied Consent. What this really means is that when you were given the privilege to drive among the roadways here in California by the almighty DMV, in exchange for your license you agreed to submit to a chemical or blood test if you were ever arrested for a DUI related driving offense. If you refuse to take this Implied Consent Test, your license will automatically be suspended by the DMV for a mandatory one-year term.