If you are stopped by a law enforcement officer in Omaha and the officer thinks you have been drinking you may be asked to perform a series of field sobriety tests, or FSTs. Before you perform those tests, however, you may be asked to submit to a “Pre-test preliminary alcohol screening test”. Despite the way the officer will likely make it sound, you can refuse the preliminary test. Doing so does have consequences though.
What Is a Pre-Test Preliminary Alcohol Screening Test in Omaha?
Nebraska Revised Statute 60-6,197.04 authorizes the use of a preliminary alcohol screening test. Specifically, the law reads as follows:
“Any peace officer who has been duly authorized to make arrests for violation of traffic laws of this state or ordinances of any city or village may require any person who operates or has in his or her actual physical control a motor vehicle in this state to submit to a preliminary test of his or her breath for alcohol concentration if the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that such person has alcohol in his or her body, has committed a moving traffic violation, or has been involved in a traffic accident. Any person who refuses to submit to such preliminary breath test or whose preliminary breath test results indicate an alcohol concentration in violation of section 60-6,196 shall be placed under arrest. Any person who refuses to submit to such preliminary breath test shall be guilty of a Class V misdemeanor.”
Note that the officer does not need to actually suspect you of drinking and driving to request that you submit to the test. If you committed a traffic violation or were involved in an accident an officer is also allowed to request a test. As the name implies, the test really is essentially used as a screening tool just in case someone has been drinking even when there is no obvious reason to believe that the motorist has been drinking. It is also important to understand that the pre-screening test is not the same as the breath test you may be given after an arrest. The results of the pre-screening test cannot be used for purposes of a conviction for driving under the influence, or DUI; however, they can be used as the basis for an arrest for DUI.
Just as you have the right to refuse to perform the FSTs and/or refuse to take a breath test, you can refuse the preliminary alcohol screening test in Omaha. Doing so, however, means that you will be placed under arrest for a class V misdemeanor. If you are facing DUI charges in Omaha, or have specific questions about DUI laws in Omaha, consult with an experienced Omaha DUI attorney as soon as possible. For a free case evaluation, contact Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180.