If you are being investigated for DUI in Georgia, you will likely be asked to submit to two different breathalyzers. This article serves to explain the differences between these machines, and your rights and obligations concerning these machines.

Preliminary Breath Test (PBT)

PBT device. These are small, handheld devices carried by police officers in the field.

The PBT is likely the first breathalyzer you will encounter. This test is offered road-side during the DUI investigation but prior to an arrest. This device is designed to estimate a driver’s blood alcohol content from air stored in the deep recesses of your lungs.

Because the PBT is not reliable, the numerical results cannot be used against you at trial. However, an officer is permitted to testify as to whether the PBT results tested positive or negative for alcohol. As a result, officers will use a positive PBT result to demonstrate whatever impairment they are claiming to observe is the result of alcohol consumption. In addition, the police will use it to justify an arrest decision.

DO NOT BLOW INTO A PBT DEVICE. THE PBT IS OPTIONAL. Politely decline to take the PBT if you have consumed any amount of alcohol, even if it was hours prior. “Officer, I respectfully decline to take the PBT along with any other road-side evaluations.”

Intoxilyzer 9000 under the Implied Consent Warning

Intoxilyzer 9000. This device is kept at police stations. It is very distinctive, and much larger than handheld devices.

This second type of breathalyzer is administered after arrest and is usually performed at the police station or jail. This is the “required” test under the Implied Consent Law.  

The manufacturer of Georgia’s breath machine is CMI, located in Owensboro, Kentucky. CMI sells their machines to law enforcement only. The company will not sell a machine to a defense lawyer. This prevents any experimentation or meaningful research regarding the reliability or accuracy of the machine.

As opposed to the PBT, the results of the Intoxilyzer 9000 can be used against you at trial. If you blow a 0.08% or higher, you will likely be facing not only a DUI – Less Safe charge, but also a DUI – Per Se charge. A skilled defense attorney will not only attack the machine (maintenance history), but also the operator of the machine to ensure no issues are overlooked.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for driving under the influence, contact the law firm of W. Scott Smith at 404.581.0999 today for a free case evaluation. You’ll find a local Atlanta DUI attorney ready to aggressively fight on your behalf. You can also find out more detailed information about Atlanta laws here.