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Ohio DUI Law And The Portable Breath Test

In State v. Shuler , 168 Ohio App.3d 183, 2006-Ohio-4336, the Ohio Supreme Court took up the issue of whether a portable breath test device (hereinafter 'PBT') can be used as evidence in a drunk driving prosecution.  The court found that, PBT devices are not among those instruments listed in Ohio Adm.Code 3701-53-02 as approved evidential breath-testing instruments for determining the concentration of alcohol in the breath of individuals potentially in violation of R.C. 4511.19. PBT results are considered inherently unreliable because they “may register an inaccurate percentage of alcohol present in the breath, and may also be inaccurate as to...

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The Problems With Portable Breath Tests (by DaytonDUI)

In possibly the best article you will ever read on portable breath testing, DUI attorneys Justin McShane and Josh Lee describe the portable breath test devises which are used by the Ohio State Highway Patrol as a "potentially dangerous, non-specific and non-selective measures at roadside."  You can find the article HERE and in the Voice for the Defense. The Problems of Fuel Cell Devices1.1. Lack of Specificity20 for EthanolAs PBTs are used for purportedly forensic purposes, their specificity for ethanol becomes a critical factor. The electrochemical detector is not specific for ethanol.21 Indeed, there is “much evidence to show” they are actually not...

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Portable Breath Test Devices Can Produce Falsely High Tests

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (Student Manual HS178 R2/06), a Portable Breath Test Device may produce an artificially high reading.  The government document is clear: "PBT instruments have accuracy limitations." (VII-8).  The NHTSA manual goes on to set forth "two common factors that tend to produce high results on a PBT.  The PBT is often seen in Underage Consumption cases and in Boating Under the Influence (BUI) cases as they provide probable cause for an arrest.Residual mouth alcohol. After a person takes a drink, some of the alcohol will remain in the mouth tissues.  If the person...

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Ohio DUI Law: State v. Shuler (Portable Breath Test Not Allowed)

Portable Breath Test Not Allowed The Fourth District Court of Appeals slammed the use of portable breath tests as trial evidence in State v. Shuler, 168 Ohio App.3d 183, 2006-Ohio-4336.  The unique facts of this case were that the defendant was stopped on November 6, 2004 for making an erratic, improper turn.  He was "asked" to leave the vehicle for submission to field sobriety tests.  In addition, the officer administered a portable breath test to the defendant.  The PBT result was .078 (below the legal limit).  The defendant was arrested and taken to the station where the results of the BAC test were...

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