Portable/Preliminary Breath Testing for DUIs
Most jurisdictions allow officers to use PBTs (Portable/Preliminary Breath Testing) machines during their roadside DUI investigations. I am commonly asked by DUI Attorneys about what NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Highway and Safety Administration)’s standards and protocols are regarding an officer’s use of PBTs and whether or not the officer properly administered it during their roadside DUI investigation. As I analyze cases from across UTAH, from Logan to St. George, and from Wendover to Castledale, I am finding a big increase in cases where officers are using the PBT in violation of NHTSA’s standards and protocols.
NHTSA is very clear about when a PBT should be used during a DUI investigation. In the NHTSA DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Participant Manual (May 2013 Version), Section 4, Page 3, it states the following:
PBTs should be used after administering SFSTs.
Today, officers are commonly administering the PBT prior to the SFSTs and upon contact with the driver at the driver’s vehicle. The officer will then ask the driver to exit the vehicle and perform SFSTs after already submitting to the PBT. Many officers are also administering the PBT upon contact with the driver at the driver’s vehicle. Then, the officer asks the driver to step out of the vehicle and the driver is placed under arrest for DUI without ever being asked to perform SFSTs. Both scenarios are in clear violation of NHTSA’s standards and protocols and we at Utah Freedom Fighters are here to thoroughly cross-examine the officer appropriately at the Driver’s License Hearing as well as in the criminal court in order to hold the officer accountable.