If you are pulled over and the officer suspects drunk driving, you will be offered a preliminary breath test – sometimes called an Alco-Sensor. I have watched many videos where officers tell my clients that the results of the Alco-Sensor “cannot be used in court” and “cannot hurt them.” But is this true?
It is true that the preliminary breath test cannot be used against them to prove DWI or “baby DWI” (under 21 with a blood alcohol level of .02 or more). But when this question was addressed to Virginia’s Attorney General in 2013, he answered:
“It is my opinion that the results of the preliminary breath tests you describe may be admissible for the offenses of underage possession of alcohol, possession, or consumption of alcoholic beverages by an interdicted person and public intoxication at the discretion of the trial judge and subject to the proper foundation.”
The Alco-Sensor CAN be used against you! At least for certain crimes. Public intoxication, underage possession, and interdiction (someone who has been ordered by a court to not possess alcohol) are all misdemeanors. But the Alco-Sensor results can also apparently be used in much more serious felony charges. A growing trend is to charge “felony child neglect” if a person is suspected of driving while intoxicated with children in the car. Nothing in the law says that a preliminary breath test cannot be used to prove felony child neglect. Taking the preliminary breath test CAN hurt you.
Our passion at Tillotson & Martin, L.L.C., is defending citizens against unfair traffic & DUI laws. We write the book for DWI defense for Virginia attorneys and provide seminars for attorneys on how to beat the breath test machine. We train extensively to develop and improve cutting edge defenses. Our attorneys are active National College for DUI Defense members, are certified in NHTSA Field Sobriety Testing, and are trained to interpret breath and blood test data.
Don’t let a DWI ruin your life. We strive to be the best trained and most prepared Virginia DUI attorneys so that we can aggressively fight for your rights. Call us for a free consultation at (757) 969-5197.