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Do you know the difference between an approved screening device (ASD) and a breathalyzer test? If you have ever been arrested for impaired driving, you may be familiar with both terms. If, on the contrary, these terms do not ring a bell, reading this article may be useful during the holidays when big office parties are in full swing.

Approved screening device and breathalyzer: two tests used by police to detect the presence of alcohol

When a police officer arrests you for alcohol-impaired driving, he or she can run several tests to determine if there is alcohol in your body. Several options are then available to him: he can ask you about your alcohol consumption, he can check if an odour of alcohol emanates from you or the passenger compartment of your vehicle, he can also look at your eyes to check if they are red and glassy. In addition, in order to verify or confirm that your breath smells like alcohol, the police officer may legally ask you to blow into his or her face. These various options are used to find out if alcohol is in your body. When the officer’s suspicions are confirmed, he or she may order you to immediately blow into an approved screening device.

ASD: the initial police tool to detect impairment

The ASD is a small device that is usually found in the police vehicle. This device is used to establish reasonable grounds to suspect that you have committed an offence of driving a motor vehicle while impaired. As soon as he suspects that you have alcohol in your system, the police officer will give you the order to blow into the ASD. This test is conducted on the side of the road, following the interception of your vehicle. The ASD will then issue a result, either FAIL or PASS. If you obtain a FAIL result, the police officer will arrest you for impaired driving and take you to the police station for further testing.

The breathalyzer test to determine your blood alcohol level after arrest

The breathalyzer comes into play at this stage, at the police station. The purpose of this device is to measure the amount of alcohol in your blood. This test can only be carried out after your arrest and can only be done in a police station and by a technician qualified to use this type of machine. Two samples will be taken to determine your blood alcohol level. The police report and the results of these samples will then be forwarded by the police to a Crown prosecutor who, in turn, will lay charges against you.

A criminal lawyer will confirm the integrity of the ASD and breathalyzer procedures

Note: In impaired driving cases, many factors come into play, including the procedure to be followed by police officers and the multiple deadlines they must meet. Only an experienced defence lawyer can advise you on whether the police procedure, in your case, has been followed from A to Z. Therefore, just because you blow above the allowable limit does not automatically mean you have to plead guilty. In this type of case, the advice of a criminal lawyer can be very helpful.

Lastly, during the holiday period, we would like to remind you that moderation tastes much better than a New Year’s Eve in prison.