Its all about the DUI breathalyzer machine and BAC procedures this time. We are back talking with DUI Expert witness William Pelarenos. He breaks it down and lays it all out for us. You’ll find out what type of breathalyzer William liked best and why.
William Pelarenos has nearly 30 years in law enforcement.
He was part of a Cook County Sheriff’s Department unit that focused on DUI enforcement. William was also an Illinois State certified standard field sobriety test instructor. He taught other police how to properly conduct field sobriety tests.
Today, William is a DUI expert witness. He educates attorneys, judges, juries and anyone else who is interested in the complicated subject of modern DUI criminal litigation.
He has also obtained thousands of breathalyzers samples. He was a state certified breathalyzer operator.
William has experience with
- Preliminary Breath Tester (PBTs)
- Recording Breath Tester (RBTs) (this one is portable)
- ECIR Breathalyzer
William not only does live presentations for the eager to learn, he also wrote a book. “DUIs Decoded” can be found on Amazon.
Types of DUI Breathalyzer Machine
There are three types of DUI breathalyzer machine used by law enforcement. In Podcast Episode 035 of the Criminal Nuggets Podcast, our guest tells us all about the variety of DUI breathalyzer machine.
The preliminary breath test breathalyzer (PBT) is typically used before the arrest. It is part of the probable cause that an officer uses to make a formal arrest.
These devices also happen to be extremely portable. They are hand held units often carried in a squad car.
The PBT is non-evidentiary in nature. That just means, that although the measurement from a PBT can be used to establish probable cause for a DUI arrest, the results are not admissible in evidence in the DUI trial of the person arrested.
PBTs are less reliable than the other machine. That is why they are non-evidentiary in nature.
The PBT must be certified every 92 days by the Illinois State Police.
Recording Breath Tester
The recording breath tester (RBT) is also a portable breathalyzer. This machine is larger than the PBT discussed above.
This machine, however, is evidentiary in nature. This means, unlike the the PBT, the recording breath tester will yield a BAC result that can be admitted in court.
The RBT must be certified every 62 days by the Illinois State Police.
This is the standard breathalyzer that we generally are thinking of when we imagine a police breathalyzer.
This unit is generally not portable. It is larger than the other machines described above. It is permanently located in the police station, in or near the lock-up or booking area.
The ECIR is evidentiary in nature.
The ECIR must be certified every 62 days by the Illinois State Police. Improper or non-existent certification may lead to inadmissibility of any BAC results obtained from an incorrectly calibrated or certified machine.
From the Podcast
Click to Tweet the following from the podcast!
- Click Here – “The recording breath tester is mobile…and its evidentiary” – William Pelarenos
- Click Here – “New Years eve intoxicated motorist crashes his car…BAC obtained in the hospital.” – William Pelarenos.
- Click Here – “.3 or above you can die from alcohol poisoning.” – William Pelarenos
William’s Favorite Machine
When he was on the job, William’s favorite breathalyzer was the RBT. This machine provided him with mobility and an admissible result.
This was the breathalyzer that he would have with him at roadside roadblocks and safety checkpoints.
On one occasion, William even took his RBT to a hospital. An injured motorist was ticketed for DUI. However, William was able to obtain a BAC result without the driver ever having to leave his hospital room.
Problems With Breathalyzers
Breathalyzers like all machines are not perfect.
An experienced defense attorney guided by the knowledgeable hand of a DUI expert may be able to identify problems in a breathalyzer sample. For example, there may be problems with the –
- Notice to Motorist
- Frequently Serviced/Broken Machines
- Late or Stale Calibration Results
Warning to Motorist
One of the biggest mistakes an officer commits during a breathalyzer sample is an improper reading of the Notice to Motorist.
Now this may not sound earth shattering, but serious driver’s license implications are at play when a police officer is asking for a breath sample.
The Illinois rules and regulations require that a motorist be informed of their rights and the serious consequences that may result.
Improperly summarizing, paraphrasing, or no reading at all of the Notice to Motorist may result in the exclusion of a BAC result.
One technique that a defense attorney can use to identify a problem with the Notice to Motorist is to subpoena and obtain the lock-up video.
If this can be done, problems will be apparent because the process can be timed. Rushed jobs will be blatantly obvious.
Williams advice on spotting breathalyzer sample issues: “Check the logs.”
Broken or Frequently Serviced Machines
Also, you have to subpoena the repair logs. They won’t just give them to you. You have to specifically subpoena them. This may be the only way to discover a “problem” machine.
Late or Stale Calibration Results
In regards to proper calibration of these machines, William lets us know the make sure and check that the gas samples used in these calibrations are not expired.
If canisters of gas in the machine are not changed out regularly or on time improper calibration will lead to unreliable results.
Full Discovery is Required
This DUI expert witness explains that a defense attorney will have to be proactive in obtaining all the appropriate DUI reports, videos, and logs. They don’t just give you this stuff. A healthy combination of subpoenas and discovery requests are often required to push the the State towards full disclosure.
Once an attorney can round up all the paper, William is great at sitting down with an attorney and decoding it all.
Best Way to Reach William
William Pelarenos can be reached by the following:
on Twitter at @policeproject1
by email at [email protected]
by phone at (708) 793-3980