Police love to try to get someone to blow into a roadside preliminary alcohol screening test (PAS). But the hand-held breath test gadget called the “Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS)” test mentioned by the officer in the street or along the road is not something a suspected DUI driver has to blow in.
Of course, when the officer is telling you that he will arrest you unless you blow into the screening device (PAS), you are gonna blow. There are so many things the officer could say to entice you to blow, but who wants to go to jail when there is a chance you could walk by just by agreeing to blow in the street instead.
This optional PAS test is usually given before you are arrested. Doing that test is not mandatory under this law in most states including California unless you are under 21 years of age or on DUI probation.
There are a number of reasons why adults and non-probationers should not blow. Drunk driving attorneys like to remind the finder of fact that the lack of any mouth-alcohol detector or slope detector makes the PAS an inaccurate hand-held gadget.
DUI lawyers also can easily establish positive false positives that may register when a subject blows into the unreliable hand-held gadget. Someone with no alcohol can eat white bread or soy sauce which causes a false positive “breath level” reading. There are a multitude of reasons why the PAS gadget should be trusted and not be blown into.
The PAS technically is only a field sobriety test. As a field sobriety test, the PAS is statutorily defined as an investigatory tool to assist the officer in deciding whether to make a DUI arrest or not. Don’t be fooled by what the police say. The attorney prosecutor almost always successfully gets the PAS numerical results admitted in a court of law. And of course that can be damaging to your defense.
You can agree to a PAS in the field but you will still be considered a “Refusal” if you later do not agree to submit to a chemical test of blood or blow into a larger breath test machine once you are arrested.
A refusal means your license is typically suspended for 1 to 2 years. This is true despite the fact that you blew in the PAS test gadget believing you were fulfilling your legal requirement to provide a breath sample. People reasonably believe so because they are blowing as requested.
Again, while the PAS is not required for adults, it is required if you are under the legal drinking age. If you are under 21 years of age, and suspected of drinking alcohol while driving or DUI, you gave legal consent to a PAS and if DUI, the subsequent blood or breath test. So you should understand the distinction. Avoid any confusion. You do not want to have to have a lawyer try to defend a refusal case against you. Knowing all your rights will help your case.