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Breathalyzer Science

Drunk Driving Chemical Tests

When you get stopped by the police they will often ask you to submit to a Preliminary Breath Test. If you refuse to take the Preliminary Breath Test it is likely that you will be taken to the station to take the Datamaster Breath Test. The Datamaster is more accurate than the Preliminary Breath Test, although there are sometimes irregularities in the maintenance of the machine or the how the test was administered. If you refuse to take the Datamaster Breath Test at the station the Police will likely obtain a warrant and take you to a local hospital to draw blood. Further, if you refuse the Datamaster Breath Test at the Station your license will be suspended for one (1) year unless you request a hearing within fourteen (14) days of receiving the Officer's Report of Refusal. Below is a summary of the science behind the test

Preliminary Breath Test

Preliminary Breath Test

The police will often request that you submit to a Prelimiary Breath Test ("PBT") after they request that you perform field sobriety tests. The police are required to have reasonable cause to administer a breath test and can arrest you solely on the basis of the PBT result. A common misconception is that if you refuse the PBT your driver's license will be suspended for a year. This is false and the penalty for refusing an officer's LAWFUL demand to submit to the PBT is a civil infraction punishable by a fine of up to $200.00

Datamaster Breath Test

Unreliable Chemical Testing

Administrative rules must be followed in administering and properly maintaining chemical testing devices. Any deviation from approved methods of administering chemical tests or maintaining testing equipment will allow you to argue the reliability of the Blood Alcohol test results. There are two (2) types of breath tests. A Preliminary Breath Test is administered on the scene of the stop. An evidential or "Datamaster" test is conducted after you are arrested and while you are at the police station

A person may be administered a breath alcohol analysis on an evidential breath alcohol test instrument only after being observed for 15 minutes by 1 or more appropriate class operators before collection of the breath sample, during which period the person shall not have smoked, regurgitated, or placed anything in his or her mouth, except for the mouthpiece associated with the performance of the test. The observation may be conducted by more than 1 operator working in concert. The operator need not stare continuously at the subject, but must be close enough to be aware of the person's actions and conditions. The operator may complete paperwork, enter data into the breath test instrument, or conduct other reasonable tasks during the observation period provided the subject is within the operator's field of vision. Breaks in the observation lasting only a few seconds do not invalidate the observation if the operator can reasonably determine that the subject did not smoke, regurgitate, or place anything in his or her mouth during the break in the observation.

An evidential breath alcohol test instrument shall be verified for accuracy at least once at any time during each calendar week, or more frequently as the department may require, by an appropriate class operator. For the instrument to meet the requirements for accuracy, a test result of .076 to .084 shall be obtained when using a controlled device that delivers an alcohol vapor concentration of .080 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of vapor.

A preliminary breath alcohol test instrument must be verified for accuracy at least monthly, or more frequently as the department may require.

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