What Is a PAS Test?
A Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test is a type of breath testing device, but unlike other breathalyzers, the PAS is a field sobriety test. It is not a chemical test. Chemical tests can only be administered after a lawful arrest, while field sobriety tests are administered at the DUI stop by a police officer. Many officers in California use the PAS test for convenience, but it has proven to have a large margin of error.
Because the PAS test is not a chemical test, you can refuse to take it without risking your driving privileges. When you refuse a chemical test in California, your license will be automatically suspended. If you refuse to take a PAS test at your DUI stop, you will likely be arrested – however, this could be your best option. Without field sobriety test evidence, which is highly subjective and often flawed, you will go directly to chemical testing which is more accurate.
The margin of error with PAS tests can be attributed to human error and mechanical error. If PAS tests are not administered properly, it could produce a false reading, just as if they are not calibrated properly, they could produce false readings. PAS tests are also extremely susceptible to certain foods, drinks, and other factors such as body temperature or smoking.