San Diego DUI - San Diego DUI Attorney, San Diego DUI Attorneys, San Diego DUI Attourney

Passive Alcohol Sensor DUI Test

hidden breath sniffer: involuntary bac sampling

Have you experienced a police traffic stop for drunk driving in California recently and happened to notice the officer's flashlight making its way into the cabin area of your vehicle, perhaps within 13 inches of your face and mouth? If the answer is yes, but you didn't suspect anything unusual, perhaps you're not aware of law enforcement's use of sniffing flashlights and hidden breath testing devices. Perhaps you reasoned the officer was just "looking around", but very possibly, he or she was sniffing out an involuntary breath sample with an "electronic alcohol nose" called a passive DUI alcohol sensor.

covert nonconsensual breath alcohol test

PAS International, the company that markets and services covert alcohol sniffers such as the breath testing flashlights and pen caddies, claims these devices do not violate Constitutional Rights and simply assist police officers in detecting alcohol whiffs that may otherwise be subdued due to colds, sinuses, body odors, winds, weather, and allergies. The company markets the products as "non-invasive" and "discrete" tools that don't require the subject's active participation.

pas can sneak a whiff of your entire vehicle

The PAS doesn't just sneak a sample of your breath, it also surveils the vehicle for open containers and the presence of alcohol on the breath of your passengers. It can electronically patrol airplanes, trains, vessels, and other enclosed quarters, no longer leaving a person's choice a matter of their own business.

The PAS can be used by emergency personnel and trauma units to detect alcohol on unconscious persons, as well as any patient admitted into the hospital - conscious or unconscious, consenting or not.

The clandestine and covert sniffing device is commonly implemented at San Diego County DUI roadblocks, sobriety checkpoints, and saturation patrols without your consent or awareness. The results of a PAS test are not admissible in court. Submission to a PAS test is obviously not voluntary or optional.

As civil libertarian John Whitehead put it, "They're reaching into your vehicle with an electronic device. That's the sort of thing you expect in Eastern Bloc countries or Communist China, not the United States."

pas IV flashlight model

Passive Alcohol Sensor hidden in police officer's flashilight to detect DUI PAS IV: The Passive Alcohol Sensor IV: has been on the market since 1993 and can be embedded and disguised in a flashlight at a cost of approximately $800 each. PAS International claims it "sniffs' ambient air, open containers, human breath, and enclosed spaces for the presence of alcohol, acting as an "extension" of the officer's nose.

pas clip mate model

Passive Alcohol Sensor hidden in police officer's pen caddy to detect DUIPAS Clip Mate: The PAS Clip Mate sniffer offered by PAS International retails for approximately $450 and is disguised as a pen caddy, or police officer ticket book container. Like the sniffing flashlight, its covert cousin, it is marketed as a "non-intrusive" alcohol detection device disguised as an aluminum cased form holThe company claims it is especially well suited for rapid and subsequent measurements.

managing covert sniffing stops by police

If you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint or pulled over by an officer who waves his or her flashlight near your face, or whose pen caddy is in proximity of your breath or vehicle interior, you could politely instruct the officer to keep the flashlight or caddy out of your vehicle and away from your person. To avoid contact with the PAS, you may choose to keep your vehicle windows 80% closed and slip the officer your drivers license, registration, and proof of insurance through an open slit at the top of your driver window. The officer might request that you roll down the window and if you object, may order you to exit the vehicle. If asked to step out of the car, you will need to comply, but you may choose to lock your vehicle behind you, ensuring your keys are on your person.


Note*: This approach is amended from a DUI defendant's advocacy site and may not be realistic in an actual encounter with police, but if you're above the legal limit of .08% BAC in California, you might ask what you have to lose. This information is not meant to substitute for legal advice pertaining to your exact circumstances.

Obviously, the police officer's objective is to observe your eyes & face, check for nervousness of your hands, and of course sniff, electronically or otherwise. How can you avoid this from happening? Following are one advocate's suggestions:

1. Once stopped by police, have your window rolled up and documents (drivers license, registration, and proof of insurance) ready before the cop approaches your vehicle.

2. When the officer arrives at your vehicle, expect him or her to order you to open the window - comply, but only lower it by 3 inches, stating "I can you hear just fine, officer", slipping the readied documents through the slight window opening.

3. Maintain a straight line of vision ahead and avoid looking at the officer. If you are experiencing allergic reactions and sensitivity, you might be under doctor's orders to avoid unnecessary exposure to aggravating environmental elements, therefore unhealthy to fully open the window or exit the vehicle. Many allergy victims carry hankies, tissues, and paper masks with which to protect themselves - now is not the time to be shy about it. The officer will likely insist you step out of the car. Even though you'll need to cooperate, you might ask to remain inside the vehicle just for the "questioning". Assure the officer that you can hear them above the noise from using your tissues, even with the window rolled up and no eye contact.

A word about germs: Allergies are not the sole cause that a driver might cover his mouth and nose, preferring not to step out of the car. Some "people", including police officers, are concerned with avoiding contamination and the spread of infectious diseases and viruses, not just colds and flus. For those who suffer from arthritis and other physical conditions, exiting the vehicle could induce excruciating pain to aching legs, knees, hips, feet, ankles, toes, backs and necks.

4. Due to the officer's training, he or she will undoubtedly order you to "get out". It's time to do so, even if excruciating pain compels you to keep covering your face as you wince, grimace, writhe, guffaw, complain, whimper, blow your nose, cry, sniffle, grunt and/or limp. Only express your discomfort if you are genuinely miserable - never fake any symptoms or ailments.

5. Under no circumstances should you ever make an admission to drinking or ingesting any drugs whatsoever, even if you are taking a prescription or the officer claims to smell alcohol. Note: Alcohol itself has no odor whatsoever - officers are actually mistaking the smell of the mixers used with alcohol for the alcohol itself.

6. If the officer shines the flashlight in your eyes or waves it around your mouth, cover your face and exclaim "it hurts my eyes!" or blow your nose.

The main objective: To maintain some control of the traffic stop and ensuing events. Avoiding contact with the officer and the officer's devices and exercises that routinely lead up to a DUI arrest. Even if you are ultimately arrested, you will have established the cause of bloodshot or watery eyes, facial flushing, and other physical symptoms. Your hands will have been kept busy, and your breath hopefully suppressed by the tissues. Physical conditions account for loss of balance and coordination.

Please click here for more information on dealing with police traffic stops


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