The vast majority of King County Police Agencies and the Washington State Troopers are utilizing the Preliminary Alcohol Screening Devices or as they are also known – the breathalyzers in order to establish the BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of a driver right on the spot. PAS device is basically a tiny box, which is being put before the driver’s face and he or she is required to blow as hard as possible. Nevertheless, those field breathalyzers are genuinely challenging to calibrate and may well be triggered by any chemical that is based on methyl and can be found on one’s breath. And individual, who pulled over not long after his or her last drink of alcohol could still have active particles of alcohol in the mouth, so blowing right into the breathalyzers will not do any good. Although the machine may depict the accurate representation of the chemicals on one’s throat as well as his or her mouth, the device may also overstate the real amount of alcohol, which was absorbed straight into the body. Furthermore, seeing how these devices are not meant to be specific to ETOH (Ethyl Alcohol), they may easily be triggered on mints, mouth wash as well as any other chemicals that may occur naturally in one’s system. There are plenty of studies on the matter, which proved that a person with diabetes is going to have an increased level of acetone on his or her breath and it will be registered as alcohol on the breathalyzer.
Furthermore, the Vehicle Code of Washington and namely section 23612 (i) is telling the law enforcement officers to inform the drivers of their right to decline the breathalyzer test on the side of the road. The section reads as follows:
“If the officer decides to use a Preliminary Alcohol Screening test, he shall advise the driver that upon arrest, the obligation to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test is not satisfied by the person submitting to a Preliminary Alcohol Screening test. The Officer shall advise the person of that fact and of the person’s right to refuse to take the preliminary alcohol screening test.”
The message from the Washington Vehicle Code is not really open for interpretations and informs the officers that they need to give the warning first, but in most cases we are looking at evidence, which indicates that the officers are not advising the drivers of this right to decline the test, which could be quite inaccurate indeed.
In order for these field tests to be used in court or during the DOL hearing, the prosecution or the DOL hearing officer will need to establish a certain base, upon which to argue the accuracy of the tests in general. Hence, only a qualified as well as genuinely experienced Seattle DUI lawyer will have what it takes to attack those devices and to keep their results as far from the case as possible.