Can a portable breath test be used in court? 

When you get pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, you may be given a portable breath test. Many people think that this is a Breathalyzer. It is not. The true Breathalyzer is much larger and will generally be used at the police station. The portable test is an entirely different device. 

So, if the police give you the portable breath test at the scene when you are stopped on suspicion of drunk driving, can the police take that reading to court as evidence? For instance, maybe the portable test said you were over the legal limit, but then the actual Breathalyzer — or a blood test — indicated that you were not. Are those portable results going to factor into the court’s verdict in your case?

Portable tests are not permitted as evidence

Despite what many people assume, the court actually does not use portable breath test results as evidence in legal cases. The police officer can come to court and give their account of what happened, but they can’t use those test results against you. 

This is very important in cases where there is no other solid evidence of intoxication. A Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.08% or greater is grounds for the court to assume you were impaired. However, if that result came from a portable test, it’s just not seen as accurate enough to determine that you really were over the legal limit. This means intoxication cannot be presumed and must be proven in some other way for you to be convicted. 

Get help with your defense and focus on your future

A drunk driving arrest can have a massive impact on your future. That’s why it’s so important to know exactly how the legal process works in a drunk driving case. If you’ve been charged with DWI, take immediate steps to protect your rights.