How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask P. Simmons Your Own Question

P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 30760
Experience:  16 yrs. of experience including criminal law.
Type Your Criminal Law Question Here...
P. Simmons is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Why are PBT,S (portable breath testers not admissable in c

Customer Question

Why are PBT,S (portable breath testers not admissable in court?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 7 years ago.
Thanks for the chance to assist

The purpose of the PBT is to confirm the officer's suspicion and to establish probable cause for your arrest. The PBT is not an evidentiary alternative to the formal breath test given at the station.

The PBT is a voluntary test and the results are generally not admissible in court; most PBT devices are not sufficiently reliable to meet court admissibility standards. For example, if you had recently consumed gum, cough syrup, mints or used an inhaler prior to taking the PBT, a false positive reading could have given the officer probable cause to arrest you.

Most states prohibit the use of portable breath testing results as evidence at trial in a DUI case.

The challenge typically goes back to the case of Duabert v Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals (509 U.S. 579 (1993))

n Daubert, the Supreme Court held that federal trial judges are the “gatekeepers” of scientific evidence. Under the Daubert standard, therefore, trial judges must evaluate proffered expert witnesses to determine whether their testimony is both “relevant” and “reliable”, a two-pronged test of admissibility.

The relevancy prong: The relevancy of a testimony refers to whether or not the expert’s evidence “fits” the facts of the case. For example, you may invite an astronomer to tell the jury if it had been a full moon on the night of a crime. However, the astronomer would not be allowed to testify if the fact that the moon was full was not relevant to the issue at hand in the trial.

The reliability prong: The Supreme Court explained that in order for expert testimony to be considered reliable, the expert must have derived his or her conclusions from the scientific method.

The Court offered "general observations" of whether proffered evidence was based on the scientific method, although the list was not intended to be used as an exacting checklist:

Empirical testing: the theory or technique must be falsifiable, refutable, and testable.

Subjected to peer review and publication.
Known or potential error rate and the existence and maintenance of standards concerning its operation.
Whether the theory and technique is generally accepted by a relevant scientific community.

Although trial judges have always had the authority to exclude inappropriate testimony, previous to Daubert, trial courts often preferred to let juries hear evidence proffered by both sides. Once certain evidence has been excluded by a Daubert motion because it fails to meet the relevancy and reliability standard, it will likely be challenged when introduced again in another trial. Even though a Daubert motion is not binding to other courts of law, if something was found not trustworthy, other judges may choose to follow that precedent. Of course, a decision by the Court of Appeals that a piece of evidence is inadmissible under Daubert would be binding on district courts within that court's geographic jurisdiction.

Please let me know if you have further questions; if so I will do my best to answer them. If not please hit the accept button, its the only way I get paid.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I deal with chemicals like toulene and xylene.Im on probation for a biffrent matter but the terms of probation is that I refrain from drug and alcohol use.I recently tested positve for a small ammount of alcohol through a PBT. I dont drink or do drugs.I am baffeled with the results.I herd that a Dr labianca (Dirrector of the science dept at Brooklyn universary )has proven that the pbt has no filters excluding the chemicals that I use regulary at work and I dont know where to locate thease findings.I need help.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 7 years ago.
You got me on that.

I can say that the reliability of PBT's is suspect and that should help quite a bit at the hearing. If you can produce evidence of the chemicals you deal with I suspect that will assist as well

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • Your Expert advise has provided insight on a difficult situation. Thank you so much for the prompt response. I will definitely recommend your website to my friends. Norma Pensacola, FL
< Previous | Next >
  • Your Expert advise has provided insight on a difficult situation. Thank you so much for the prompt response. I will definitely recommend your website to my friends. Norma Pensacola, FL
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL

Meet The Experts:

  • Ely


    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
< Last | Next >
  • Ely's Avatar


    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • Nate's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    Over 10 years of criminal defense practice.
  • P. Simmons's Avatar

    P. Simmons


    Satisfied Customers:

    16 yrs. of experience including criminal law.
  • LawTalk's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    30 years legal experience
  • Marsha411JD's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    Licensed attorney with 29 yrs. exp. in criminal law
  • RobertJDFL's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
  • AttorneyTom's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:


Related Criminal Law Questions