What is the Preliminary Alcohol Screening Device (PAS) and How Can It Affect an Arrest for DUI – California Vehicle Code 23152
March 22, 2010

Often times when people are charged with DUI in California, the stories of their encounters with law enforcement sound eerily similar. They usually sound something like this:

“I was pulled over by the CHP around 1:30am—the cop said I was swerving out of my lane (but I really wasn’t because I knew he was behind me.) He asked if I had been drinking and I said I had 2 drinks. He asked me to get out of the car so he could perform some tests. I felt like I passed the tests and then he told me he had one more test for me then I could be on my way…”

This is the moment of truth. At this point the officer pulls out a small, handheld breath device called a Preliminary Alcohol Screening device, or a “PAS.” The PAS is often the final California field sobriety test used by police officers and the result of this test will often determine whether the officer will make an arrest or allow a person to go on his or her own way. There are many times when an officer has already made up his or her mind to arrest somebody well before the PAS test is given. These are typically cases where the person is clearly intoxicated. However, in close cases where the officer is uncertain of whether or not he or she will make a DUI arrest, the results on the PAS test will often dictate whether an arrest is made. If the PAS results are .08 or higher, an arrest will almost certainly be made. If it reads .06 or .07, there is still a very strong chance that the officer will make an arrest. If it reads .05 or less, assuming the person is over 21 years old, the officer is much less likely to make an arrest.

It is important to understand that the PAS test is optional and the officer is supposed to tell you that it is optional, though many times they don’t. If you or a loved one is facing a DUI charge in California, don’t hesitate to contact the knowledgeable and aggressive attorneys at Wallin & Klarich for a consultation. Call (877) 466-5245 to speak to one of Wallin & Klarich’s aggressive and experienced criminal defense attorneys in California today. We will be there when you call.

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