Why was my son taken for bloodwork after a passed breathalyzer?

Q: My son was stopped after “swerving”. He admitted to officer he did because he was changing music on his phone. Officer asked if he was drinking and my son admitted he had 2 beers after work and was heading home. My son passed the field test and was given a breathalyzer. The officer didn’t tell him results or arrest him. He took him to hospital for blood draw and told me summons will be in mail in a few months. Why would they take my son for bloodwork after a breathalyzer on scene? Especially since there was no accident or injuries? Is that common in PA? (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: What you refer to as a “breathalyzer” was not a in fact a breathalyzer. It was likely a PBT or preliminary breath test which merely gauges the presence of alcohol. It is a small gadget which police use at the scene. It has the effect of indicating the presence of alcohol but the police like it as it can be used a probable cause and because it intimidates people in to thinking they are in trouble. The real test in your son’s arrest was the blood draw at the hospital. They are commonly used and there is not much you can do about it. If your son had two beers his BAC content should low and may be under .08 if some time had passed after the consumption.

First DUI

Q: Asking for a friend here. Her BAC was .210 and .181. This is her first DUI. What will happen and how much trouble will she get in. Will she lose her license? Should she get a lawyer? (Baldwin Borough, PA)

A:  If she truly has no prior record, is ARD eligible, and, she has no solid defense, ARD would be a good option. Those blood alcohol content readings sound strange due to the disparity, but assuming she is over .159, she will be looking at a 60 day driver license suspension if she is ARD eligible. If not ARD eligible and she pleads guilty or is found guilty, she will receive an 18-month suspension. Have her consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to assess whether she has any defenses and what her options are.