Can I Refuse to Consent to a Portable Breath Test?

drunkdrivingdwiTexas’ implied consent laws state that drivers who are lawfully arrested by officers with probable cause as to the driver’s intoxication must consent to breath or blood testing to prove their impairment, or innocence. But, did you know that not every breathalyzer is created equal? When you think of a breathalyzer, you probably think of the handheld one that a police officer would use as a roadside test of impairment. Actually, the breath test referred to in the implied consent law is not the portable breath test (PBT), but a much larger, more robust and more accurate machine that they will use on you once you get back to the police station after arrest.

Don’t Let the Officer Fool You with a PBT

You are under no legal obligation to submit to a PBT at the scene of a DWI stop. PBTs are a useful tool for police to confirm their bias that you are driving intoxicated, but they are not even legally admissible in court. PBTs are unreliable compared to the actual breathalyzer. One reason for this is that they are adjustable via a small screw, and even a slight adjustment to that screw can distort the results. Additionally, PBTs do not measure for ethyl alcohol, the type of alcohol found in beverages. This means that readings might pick up on other substances that can mimic the effects of ethyl alcohol; even a person’s diet might be enough to throw off a reading on a PBT.

Long story short: You have nothing to lose by refusing a PBT.

If you have been charged with criminal offenses such as DWI in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, our law firm can assist you in having your charges reduced or dismissed.


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