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Is a PBT admissible against me?

If you are facing drinking and driving charges there is a good chance that the Preliminary Breath Test (or PBT for short) was part of or the sole reason for your arrest.

After the arrest is made you will be asked to submit to a blood draw or a DataMaster breath test which is admissible.

Preliminary Breath Test

The preliminary breath test is a search performed during drinking and driving, minor in possession, and other alcohol related investigations. In most cases, you will be asked or told to submit to a field sobriety test or ordered to. The officer must have some amount of probable cause to believe that you have committed an alcohol related offense in order to order you to submit to a PBT.

Be careful, the officer can “ask” you to submit to a PBT which can give him enough probable cause to arrest you even when they do not have enough probable cause to require you to take the test. Consent is a search exception. I put “ask” in quotes because it’s amazing how an officer’s orders will be interpreted by the prosecution as a “request to consent” and not an order.

You can quickly eliminate any ambiguity by simply asking the officer if they are ordering you to take the test or asking you to consent. Remember; always be polite when talking with the police.

PBT as evidence of guilt

You can bet that if you take a PBT the results will end up in the police report and will be read by the judge or magistrate when setting bond.
The results of the PBT will be admissible if your lawyer raises a legal issue challenging whether or not there was enough probable cause to arrest you.

The PBT results can be raised by the prosecution to rebut evidence presented by you at trial that your blood alcohol level was actually lower when blood was drawn or breath was taken from the DataMaster.
For example, many people will try to argue that their last drink did not hit them until after they were driving and pulled over, so they didn’t actually break the law. Because of the way alcohol metabolizes in the blood it is very possible that while driving they were not over an .08 BAC but became over a .08 BAC while they were being investigated by the police. Obviously, a jury will only be willing to accept this defense if you would have made it where you were going without the alcohol hitting you within the time it took the officer to do his investigation.

So, if the DataMaster was a .081 and your lawyer argues that your blood alcohol was rising and didn’t peak until you took the DataMaster then the prosecution would be able to introduce the PBT if it were higher than the DataMaster results.

Michigan DUI Lawyer

Trying to explain a fairly complicated DUI issue that is contained within multiple MCL’s and Court opinions and condense it into a page is no easy task. If this blog was as clear as mud feel free to contact Michigan DUI lawyer, Aaron J. Boria today for a free consultation (734) 453-7806.
We fight for our clients and we get results.