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PBT vs Intoxilyzer – Which one do I have to do?

Posted on November 25, 2017 in Breath Alcohol Testing

A common misconception made by individuals pulled over for DUI is that all breathalyzers are equal. If you are stopped for suspicion of DUI, it is important that you know the difference between a Portable Breath Test (PBT) and an Intoxilyzer.

Here are some important distinctions to make:

•1) Portable Breath Test (PBT) – This is a breath test commonly used in the field by law enforcement in an attempt to determine if a person’s blood alcohol content is above the legal limit. It is generally used as part of the Field Sobriety Tests. This test is not reliable nor will it generate an accurate reading. Because of the unreliablenature of the test, the PBT is not admissible to be used against you, as evidence, in a court of law. In other words, the results of a PBT are used by law enforcement to determine whether or not they will place you under arrest for DUI, but the results do not have evidentiary value. It is important to remember that you ARE NOT required to submit to the PBTtest under any circumstances.

•2) Intoxilyzer – This is a breath test that does have evidentiary value, so the reading, depending on the result, will be used against you, as evidence, in the court of law. If you do not consent to submit an Intoxilyzer test, you will likely face consequences such as a twelve-month license suspension. Also, law enforcement will likely obtain awarrant to draw your blood and continue to request you blow into the Intoxilyzer. Because of this, attorneys often advise on consenting to the Intoxilyzer, but not the PBT.

Will the test results be accurate?

According to a 2011 study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and posted on, there are some inconsistencies between results of breathalyzer tests and blood tests. 

An abstract of the study reveals, “Desktop stationary breath testers based on electro-chemical infrared technology are slightly less accurate but accepted for evidentiary purposes in most jurisdiction, and quick, portable breath testers based on fuel-cell technology are the easiest to administer but not acceptable in many courts.”

Don’t take your particular circumstances for granted

Remember, NO SITUATION IS THE SAME. If you are pulled over for a DUI you should immediately call the Rosenstein Law Group and get legal advice pertaining to your specific situation before submitting to any tests or give any information to law enforcement aside from your license, vehicle registration, and insurance.

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