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PAS Test: What Is It And Am I Required To Take It?

A PAS test is an acronym for preliminary alcohol screening test. This is a breath test that is conducted at the roadside before a person is arrested for drunk driving. The test is done on a portable breath analyzer or breathalyzer. The most common portable breathalyzer used by San Diego law enforcement today is the Alco-Sensor IV, which is manufactured by Intoximeters, Inc.PAS.jpgIn California, if a driver is stopped by law enforcement and they are suspected of being under the influence, the officer may ask the driver to take a PAS test. The PAS test is considered an investigation tool, as it is supposed to measure the blood alcohol content, or BAC, of the subject.

Under California Vehicle Code section 23612(i), the officer is required to advise you that you have the right to refuse such a test, unless you are under 21 or you are on probation for DUI.

This test can be unreliable and inaccurate. It is not recommended that you do the PAS test or any other field sobriety tests, as the officer will use these tests to bolster their argument that you are impaired for purposes of driving, giving them probable cause to arrest you for DUI.

However, If you agree to provide a breath sample using the PAS test and you blow below the legal limit of .08 BAC, you may still be arrested. The officer will often use other observations and assessments to conclude you are drunk driving.

If you are arrested for driving under the influence and you already provided a breath test using the PAS test, your obligation to submit a breath, blood, or urine test after a DUI arrest has not been completed. California Vehicle Code section 23612(a), is an implied consent law. This means if you drive a vehicle and you are lawfully arrested for driving under the influence, you are deemed to have given your consent to chemical testing. If you do not voluntarily provide a sample, you will be forced to.


If you have been arrested for drunk driving after taking a breath test, hire an exclusively DUI defense firm that will aggressively defend your case. Do not just plead guilty even if you had a blood alcohol content (BAC) at or above the legal limit of .08%. There may still be defenses in your case that can lead to reduced charges with less punishment, or even a dismissal! For a free, confidential consultation, contact The Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman today at 619-260-1122 or use the “Contact Us” form on this page.