What is a PBT (portable breath test)?
This is the device used by law enforcement to garner a preliminary breath sample, usually from someone on the side of the road prior to a DUI arrest. The PBT is not permissible for use at trial because it has not be approved by the Washington State Toxicologist for use in evidential breath testing. There is a separate device (Datamaster or Drager) used for evidential breath tests. The PBT uses fuel cell technology rather than infrared technology like the Datamaster and Drager.
Won't I lose my license if I refuse the Breath Test?
I am often asked, if I don't take the PBT, I lose my license right? No, the PBT is only permissible for assisting law enforcement in making a DUI arrest. The Washington Administrative Code outlines the PBT's use and that there are certain procedures and advisements law enforcement must meet before the results of the PBT may even be considered for probable cause purposes.
You are subject to a license suspension if you refuse an evidential breath test at the station or in the MIDU (Mobile Impaired Driving Unit) after you have been read your Implied Consent Warnings for Breath. However, there is no repercussion for refusing to take a PBT.
If you or anyone you know has been arrested for DUI in Washington state, contact some of the Best Seattle DUI Lawyers and Best Kirkland DUI Attorneys (425) 522-4200.