More on PBT’s (Preliminary Breath Tests): The Alco-Sensor

     Although a number of PBT’s are approved for use in Georgia, the most common is the Alco-Sensor IV, which is manufactured by Intoximeter, Inc.  This preliminary breath testing device employs a fuel cell technology that is not specific for ethyl alcohol.  Nevertheless, it is used by police as a “screening” device when making their DUI arrest decisions.

     An Alco-Sensor only captures one milliliter of breath.  It cannot be adjusted for a person’s actual blood-to-breath ratio, body temperature, or gender.  In addition, it does not have a “slope detector” to rule out errors from the suspect’s mouth alcohol.  When this preliminary breath testing device only captures one milliliter of breath and registers .08, the Alco-Sensor IV unit is analyzing .00000038 gram of ethanol, or .38 nanograms per milliliter.  One nanogram is the same as one part per per billion, so .38 is a little more than one-third of one part per billion. 

     Despite these shortcomings, some states have allowed an Alco-Sensor with an attached printer to serve as an evidential breath testing device.  After all, more admissible breath tests means more DUI convictions, and that is exactly what the neo-prohibition advocacy groups want – more convictions.  The Georgia courts, recognizing their limitations, have resisted the State’s efforts to introduce preliminary breath test results into evidence.  If the subject ever comes up, now you know why the Georgia courts are right.  

Written by Allen Trapp who is board certified by the National College for DUI Defense and the author of Georgia DUI Survival Guide Visit Website Written by Allen Trapp who is board certified by the National College for DUI Defense and the author of Georgia DUI Survival Guide Visit Website

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.