Question: Am I required to take a preliminary breath test if a police officer asks me to in Oklahoma?
Answer: You are not required to take any test the officer asks you to take, but the preliminary breath test is one that is, by some officers abused in how it’s used. It’s not used correctly. You do not have to take it. The preliminary breath test in Oklahoma is an additional tool if used properly, for an officer to determine whether or not his observations during the field sobriety tests are accurate. The problem is that the officers, these machines are not issued by the state very often.
Most common situation is an officer will go buy one somewhere and do a quick online training on how to operate the machine. What they fail to take into account or what the officers fail to do is they never perform the proper mouth check, they never wait the required 15 minutes to make sure there’s nothing in the person’s mouth. A lot of these preliminary breath test machines are fuel cell-driven, and there’s lots of smokers in Oklahoma unfortunately.
And cigarette smoke will cause these machines to malfunction—burn up the fuel cell and cause them to register false readings. But they are not required, as a matter of fact, these machines, because they’re not maintenanced and provided by the state, they’re not maintenanced by the Board of Tests. Any mention of them is inadmissible in a court of law.
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