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Is the PAS Test Optional?

California DUI investigations are unlike any other because they rely heavily on blood alcohol concentration (BAC) results. If you’re the slightest bit familiar with DUI stops, you’re aware that DUI suspects are often asked to perform roadside tests called “field sobriety tests.”

If you’ve watched enough TV or YouTube videos, you also know that the police often ask drivers to breathe into a breathalyzer machine to determine their BAC. But the average person does not understand their rights during a DUI stop, and which tests they should and should not take.

In this post, we’re going to explain the preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test and how it compares to the post-arrest DUI breath test, and under what circumstances a refusal warrants an automatic driver’s license suspension under California’s implied consent law.

Pre-Arrest PAS Test vs. Post-Arrest Breath Test

When it comes to DUI investigations, there are two different types of tests that are used to determine a driver’s BAC:

  1. The pre-arrest preliminary alcohol screening breath test, known as a PAS test, or
  2. A post-arrest breath test or blood test.

What is the biggest difference between the pre-arrest PAS test and the post-arrest breath test? The PAS test, which is taken before a DUI arrest is 100% optional unless: 1) the driver is under the age of 21, or 2) the suspect is on probation for a DUI.

If you are not under 21 or on DUI probation, we recommend that you politely refuse to take the PAS test, which is the roadside breath test you’ve probably seen on TV and in the movies. Like the field sobriety tests, it’s not legally required, but the police use it to gain probable cause to arrest you for DUI.

Please be aware that if you agree to take the PAS test, the police and the prosecutor will use its results to convict you of DUI.

Refusing a Post-Arrest Breath Test

On the other hand, if you are arrested for DUI and you refuse to take a post-arrest breath test, understand that refusing to take a chemical test (breath, blood, or urine) will result in an automatic one year driver’s license suspension and enhanced DUI penalties if you are convicted.

If you have been arrested for DUI in Orange County, we urge you to contact our firm to speak with Attorney Landry, a Board Certified DUI defense specialist!