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The Roadside Preliminary Breath Test: When Is It Admissible?

Breeda O'Leary-Brassfield, Esq.

If you are pulled over by the police for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated or impaired, an officer may ask you to take a preliminary breath test (PBT). The results of the PBT play a role in determining whether the officer has probable cause to arrest you for the offense of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated or impaired.

The PBT result is generally not admissible at trial to prove that you were intoxicated at the time you were driving. Instead, the DataMaster evidential breath test, administered at the police station, is the test that is used in court to prove one's intoxication. However, the Michigan Court of Appeals recently clarified in People v Booker, No 329055, Mich Ct App (Feb 18, 2016), that the PBT result is admissible at trial to prove an element of a charged offense in other types of cases. For example, if you are drinking and in possession of a firearm, a roadside PBT result is admissible in determining whether you are guilty of possession of a firearm under the influence of alcohol.

It is imperative that you have an experienced attorney that knows the current state of the law when you are charged with an alcohol-related offense. Contact Breeda O'Leary-Brassfield at [email protected] or (248) 912-3221 for sound and effective legal representation in these types of cases.

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