Preliminary Breath Test Accuracy in Oklahoma

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Before placing you under arrest for DUI, Oklahoma police must satisfy the legal requirement of probable cause. Officers use several common methods in an attempt to meet this requirement, including:

  • Driving behaviors, such as swerving or weaving
  • Questions such as, “How much have you had to drink tonight?”
  • The supposed smell of alcohol on your breath or person
  • Field sobriety tests
  • Preliminary or portable breath tests (PBTs)

PBT Accuracy

Preliminary or portable breath tests are notoriously inaccurate. It is well documented that these machines are highly unreliable and often prone to both human and mechanical errors. Officers rarely take the time to calibrate the machines or observe the driver for 15 minutes prior to administering the test.

PBT Requirement

Unlike the official chemical breath test given at the police station after your arrest, the PBT is given at the roadside prior to the officer arresting you. You should know that you are not required to take the PBT if an officer asks you to. Our general advice is that you politely refuse this roadside test in most cases.

PBT Admissibility

The unreliability of PBTs is so well known that prosecutors and police officers are not even allowed to mention them in court. The result of a PBT is not admissible as evidence in a DUI trial.

If you were arrested for DUI and submitted to a preliminary breath test, contact us right away. Our attorneys will ensure that the PBT result is suppressed and that you obtain the best possible result in your case.

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