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How must officers handle breath testing devices?

Apr 23, 2022 | Firm News

Few things can destroy an otherwise fun night on the town faster than a drunk driving stop. After all, if your blood alcohol concentration ends up being over the legal limit, you may face some harsh penalties for driving under the influence.

Officers have an interest in measuring your BAC as early as possible. Therefore, most carry preliminary alcohol screening devices. These devices use a breath sample to calculate your BAC. If an officer does not handle the PAS device correctly, though, it may not deliver reliable results.

Officer obligations

California law imposes some strict requirements for PAS device maintenance and calibration. Among others, these requirements include the following:

  • Check the PAS device for accuracy every 10 days
  • Ensure the PAS device receives the necessary maintenance
  • Check the PAS device’s battery for a full charge
  • Affix a new mouthpiece to the PAS device before testing

As you may suspect, patrol officers are often busy. This may lead them to skip required maintenance and calibration. Furthermore, officers may rush through PAS testing, causing them to make some meaningful errors.

Your defense options

According to California law, failing a PAS test may lead to an immediate suspension of your driver’s license and other potentially life-changing consequences. Fortunately, you probably do not have to blindly accept the PAS device’s conclusions about your BAC.

When exploring your defense options, it is advisable to investigate whether the officer followed protocol when using the PAS device. Part of this investigation is likely to involve looking through the device’s maintenance and calibration records.

Ultimately, if your investigation uncovers discrepancies, you may be able to seek the dismissal of your DUI case.