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Field Sobriety vs Breathalyzer

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  • Field Sobriety vs Breathalyzer

    If you suspect alcohol impairment, and you have a breathalyzer, then why do the field sobriety? I'm sure there's a common sense answer to this, just always wondered. Thanks!

  • #2
    Because it's funny to watch them stumble

    Comment


    • #3
      Breathalyzer is a brand name. Are you referring to a PBT (Preliminary Breath Tester) carried by some officers in the field?

      Comment


      • #4
        Yes, PBT is what I meant

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Saluki89 View Post
          Because it's funny to watch them stumble
          This.
          Now go home and get your shine box!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by iconoclaste View Post
            Yes, PBT is what I meant
            I don't carry a PBT. I don't need to. Impairment is impairment.

            The only thing that a PBT would do for me, is to tell me whether the impairment that I was observing was caused by alcohol, or something other than alcohol, and that's not important to me in the field, so I don't carry a PBT.

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            • #7
              I don't need to let people do the fields either. I've arrested plenty of impaired drivers who didn't want to do the fields.

              But I try to be generous- if I have a driver who demonstrates indicia of impairment, I always try to give them the opportunity to participate in the fields, if they want to demonstrate to me that they're okay to drive.

              Comment


              • #8
                As others have said, the PBT is a way of verifying your observations and building probable cause. The standard field sobriety tests are still the bread and butter. I usually know if I'm arresting someone after I do the HGN but that's not a perfect method as some drugs don't cause nystagmus.

                I've also arrested people who refused all tests. It's the totality of circumstances; someone who passes out at a stop light, reeks of booze, and has bloodshot/glassy eyes is getting arrested even if he refused all tests. All I need is probable cause of impairment to arrest. Even if I lose later in court, night of? I still got a drunk off the road.

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                • #9
                  Using SFST help the prosecutor when the case comes to trial or to plea bargaining stage. a PBT is just another nail in the coffin at the pre trial phase and NORMALLY the results of a PBT are not used should the case go to full trial .................all that can be stated in most jurisdictions is that the PBT was positive or negative

                  As stated the officer may pretty much KNOW the person is impaired & is going to jail before all the tests are finished but a good investigator will do as much as possible to facilitate the conviction at trial or bargaining phases of the casse
                  Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                  My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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                  • #10
                    Our PBT's don't get regular calibration checks, so they're a "ballpark" number. It's extremely rare that I use them on DUI's, and I discourage younger officers from using them (they become a crutch that takes away from legitimate investigatory observations). The only time that I will tend to use them is for underage consumption, since the potentially lower BAC levels might not show up the same clues on SFST's.
                    "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
                    -Friedrich Nietzsche

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                    • #11
                      In FL we cant use PBT's on DUI stops under normal circumstances. We use PBT's on CDL and juvenile that "pass" the sfst's.

                      If you've already blown in a PBT and then get to the intoxilyzer and refuse, techincally you've already provided a breath sample and we cant use implied consent for your breath. PBT's and calibration is another issue. Our DUI guys carry an intoxilyzer in their car.

                      Comment


                      • ArmyVet
                        ArmyVet commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Whenever I administer a PBT I always add the statement that it's voluntary and not a replacement of an evidentiary breath sample should I ask for one later.

                    • #12
                      Originally posted by 9Ball View Post
                      In FL we cant use PBT's on DUI stops under normal circumstances.
                      Wow. Why?

                      We use PBT's on CDL and juvenile that "pass" the sfst's.
                      I guess that makes sense.

                      If you've already blown in a PBT and then get to the intoxilyzer and refuse, techincally you've already provided a breath sample and we cant use implied consent for your breath.
                      I've never experienced that challenge before. When our officers DO use the PBT, they explain to the offender that the PBT is voluntary, and it is NOT a substitute for submission to breath/blood/urine testing as required under the implied consent laws.

                      PBT's and calibration is another issue. Our DUI guys carry an intoxilyzer in their car.
                      An Intoxilyzer in the car? I've never seen that before. I would be concerned about the challenges that come from an Intoxilyzer being moved all over the place, and utilized in a wide variety of environments that the officer cannot control, since the Intox supervisor is only verifying calibration in one particular place.

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by Bing_Oh View Post
                        Our PBT's don't get regular calibration checks, so they're a "ballpark" number. It's extremely rare that I use them on DUI's, and I discourage younger officers from using them (they become a crutch that takes away from legitimate investigatory observations).
                        Yup.

                        The only time that I will tend to use them is for underage consumption, since the potentially lower BAC levels might not show up the same clues on SFST's.
                        Yes, a PBT can be handy at under-age drinking parties.

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Originally posted by Aidokea View Post



                          Yes, a PBT can be handy at under-age drinking parties.

                          It works great at college parties where it turns into "let's see who can blow the highest".
                          Last edited by Saluki89; 07-14-2019, 05:56 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Originally posted by Aidokea View Post
                            I've never experienced that challenge before. When our officers DO use the PBT, they explain to the offender that the PBT is voluntary, and it is NOT a substitute for submission to breath/blood/urine testing as required under the implied consent laws.
                            Probably depends on the particular wording of the implied consent law. For example, in Ohio, the law is worded that the person has to submit to "test or tests," meaning that I can ask for a PBT, breathalyzer, and blood/urine...a refusal of any one of them is considered a refusal under implied consent and the penalties go into effect.

                            An Intoxilyzer in the car? I've never seen that before. I would be concerned about the challenges that come from an Intoxilyzer being moved all over the place, and utilized in a wide variety of environments that the officer cannot control, since the Intox supervisor is only verifying calibration in one particular place.
                            The I-8000 is specifically-designed to be "portable" (albeit, heavy and ungainly), and there's no requirement for placement like with the old BAC Datamaster.
                            "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
                            -Friedrich Nietzsche

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                            • Aidokea
                              Aidokea commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Interesting. I've used the 8000 and the 10000. I never knew the 8000 was portable.

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