Preliminary Breath Test (PBT)

A Preliminary Breath Tester (often referred to as a PBT) is a small handheld breath tester that an officer will administer on the street when investigating a citizen for DUI. In Utah, most Courts will not allow the result of a PBT into evidence and will not allow the jury to hear evidence about a PBT. However, some judges will allow an Officer testify that he administered the PBT, but that it only showed positive for alcohol. In my opinion, this is deceiving to the jury. Here are some frequently asked questions about the PBT.

  • Do I have to take the PBT? No. There is no consequence if a person refuses to blow into a PBT. A PBT is not a device that is calibrated on a regular basis by the police, it does not check for alcohol in your mouth, and can be very inaccurate.
  • Will I lose my license if I refuse a PBT? No. Consequences to your license applies to other chemical tests such as an intoxilyzer or a blood draw. The PBT is considered a field sobriety test by most courts in Utah.
  • Can I request to see the results of the PBT? Absolutely, but the officer does not have to show you those results. Some officer will tell you. Other officers will tell you it just says positive for alcohol. Some officers will just not let you see it. Always request to see the result and make a mental note of what the officer says or does.

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