The Police, a PBT, a Datamaster Breath Test and Criminal Procedure

I have written about his before but it needs repeating. Often times the police will pull you over just so they can smell you
It is late at night and you change lanes without using your turn signal. Even though there is no one behind you, a police officer, who witnesses this, pulls you over for failing to signal. The officer probably doesn’t much care for your failure to signal, he probably just wants to determine if your car smells like weed or you smell like alcohol.

If he smells the “strong odor of intoxicants”, he will probably ask you to submit to field sobriety tests, (FST) and if you fail, I can’t stand on one leg even if I haven’t had a drink, ask you to submit to a preliminary breath test, (PBT). If you refuse, he might tell you that your refusal will result in a one-year suspension of your driver’s license.

The officer has it wrong. Refusing a PBT is a civil infraction and will cost you $100. That’s it. But it will also probably result in the officer taking you into custody and driving you to the station where he will ask you to submit to a Datamaster breath test. If you refuse this test THEN you could lose your license for a year.

I usually tell people to refuse the PBT. It’s not that the officer is lying to you, but rather, the officer probably doesn’t know the law. But know, that even if the Officer gives you the wrong information, it doesn’t matter according to the Court.

In Law School, a professor and sitting judge told me, if you are going to break the law, take a class in criminal procedure so you know, if you are arrested or pulled over, what is and what is not legal.