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Understanding preliminary alcohol screening for DUI

Popular culture has made ubiquitous references to both field sobriety tests and breath alcohol tests. Most Americans are familiar with the concept that if they are pulled over and a law enforcement officer suspects that they are intoxicated that the officer will request that they perform one or more of these tests. However, it is vitally important that Americans familiarize themselves with the different kinds of tests they may be asked to perform and how these tests may affect a potential case against them.

Field sobriety tests are not highly scientific in nature and individuals may generally refuse to submit to them without incurring any criminal consequences. If an individual is asked to walk a straight line, recite the alphabet or otherwise perform a field sobriety test, it is ultimately up to him or her whether or not to perform in accordance with the request.

Similarly, if a motorist is asked to submit to a preliminary alcohol screening, he or she may refuse without incurring criminal consequences. This kind of screening is often used by law enforcement to determine whether or not an arrest should be made. While testing of blood alcohol content by breath, urine or blood following an arrest may either not be refused or may only be refused with criminal consequences attached to the refusal, a preliminary alcohol screening prior to arrest may be generally refused if an individual so wishes.

Any questions related to the performance or refusal of any kind of DUI testing should be relayed to an experienced criminal law attorney for clarification.

Source: Findlaw Blotter, “DUI Basics: What Is a PAS (Preliminary Alcohol Screening) Test?” Daniel Taylor, Jan. 15, 2015

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