Most states, if not all, require an officer to conduct a 20-minute wait period prior to collecting a sample on the state breath test machine. But what about the roadside Preliminary Breath Testing Device (PBT) we have all seen drivers blow into? Is there a required wait time for a PBT?
According to the NHTSA SFST student manual, one factor that could cause a high test result on the PBT is residual mouth alcohol. Due to this, officers are instructed not to permit a driver to have ANYTHING in their mouth for at least 15 to 20 minutes prior to the PBT (2018 revision, session 7, page 31).
So, if an officer is about to have the driver give a breath sample into the PBT and notices the driver has gum in their mouth, or candy in their mouth, or tobacco in the mouth, or ANYTHING in their mouth and the officer instructs the person to spit the item out, the 15 to 20-minute wait period starts at that time.
Why is it significant if an officer does not wait the required time since most courts do not let an officer testify to the numerical reading on a PBT? It absolutely shows the officer is willing to deviate from the NHTSA training. And if the officer also deviates from the NHTSA training while administering the SFSTs, it does nothing more than support an unreliable arrest decision, based on unreliable information, from unreliable SFSTs and an unreliable PBT reading.