Breath Test Evidence
You have two opportunities
to provide a breath sample: a preliminary breath test (PBT)
at the scene, and a formal, "legal" test at the
The PBT is voluntary. Its purpose is to
confirm the officer's suspicion and to establish probable
cause for your arrest. The results are generally not admissible
in court; most PBT devices are not sufficiently reliable
under court standards.
If prior to taking the PBT you had recently
consumed mints, gum, mouthwash, cough syrup, used an inhaler,
or regurgitated alcohol, a false positive reading could
have given the officer probable cause to arrest. The arrest
can be challenged if the officer did not follow procedures
for administering the test.
The formal breath test occurs at the station.
In Washington, the implied consent law presumed your consent.
If you refused the test, your license will be revoked for
at least one year if you do not prevail at the licensing
hearing and at least two years if you do not prevail in
If you took the test and blew .08 or more
(differs for minors or commercial drivers), your license
will be suspended for at least 90 days if you do
not prevail at the licensing hearing and in court. Suspension
lengths and occupational license eligibility are based on
factors too numerous to discuss here. You have the right
to request a hearing to contest the license suspension or
revocation, but strict time limits apply.
If you refused, the prosecutor will emphasize
your refusal as evidence of guilt at trial, and may be less
inclined to negotiate a reduction. You need competent counsel
to determine whether your refusal was actual, knowing and
informed, and if not, to challenge the refusal evidence.
If you took the test, the prosecutor
must show the officer followed proper procedures. These
areas present opportunities to attack the admissibility
of the result, and to negotiate a dismissal or reduction
of the charge. A competent DUI attorney knows the equipment,
and is current on developments in breath test procedures,
laws and challenges. Other defenses not mentioned here may
apply to your case.
Do not make the mistakes many others
make after a DUI arrest. Call me for a free consultation.
Do not delay. If you want to contest suspension of your
license, there are strict time limits for requesting hearings.
Other matters successfully handled by our Washington DUI/DWI Defense Attorneys: Arson, Assault, Domestic Violence, Conspiracy,
DOL Licensing Hearings, Drug Offenses (Possession, Distribution,
Manufacturing), Fish and Game, Guns and Weapons, Hit and
Run, Juvenile offenses, Kidnapping, Malicious Mischief,
Probation Violations, Suspended License, Theft, Appeals.