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Handheld Breathalyzers in DC

by | Jun 13, 2011

In case you were not aware, the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police (MPD) is not allowed to run a breath-testing program at the time of this entry. The US Park Police has also had serious issues with their program.Only the US Capitol Police are currently using breathalyzers in DUI cases. Urine testing has seemed to replace breath testing for the time being.

In addition to performing field sobriety tests, and urinalysis, the MPD has been using handheld breathalyzers on the scene of the traffic stop.These handheld devices are called Preliminary Breath Testing machines or PBTs.They are called this because they can be used to establish probable cause that the driver is under the influence of alcohol and make an arrest, but they are not generally admissible as evidence to prove a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge.A DC DWI means that the driver had a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.08 grams or higher.

If you have blown a high score on a PBT and even had trouble performing a field sobriety test, it does mean that the government has sufficient evidence to prove you were drinking. It is still possible to win at trial and receive a not guilty verdict.Your Washington, DC DUI lawyer can discuss your specific case, but with a proper defense, there is often a lot that can be done to help your situation. Each phase of your arrest can be looked at and challenged independently, from the initial vehicle stop to the field sobriety testing to any breath, blood, or urine tests conducted by the police. Always remember than arrest is not a conviction.