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Tom Rees | Criminal Defence Lawyer Winnipeg

What is the Difference between an ASD (Approved Screening Device) and Breathalyzer?

A screening device is a machine often used by the police at the roadside to determine if you have alcohol in your body. The screening device is an investigative tool used by the police in situations where they may not have the grounds to arrest you for Impaired Driving or Driving Over 80. In order for an officer to make a demand for you to provide a breath sample to the screening device, the officer must reasonably suspect you have alcohol in your body. If the officer smells an odour of an alcoholic beverage emanating from your breath or you have admitted to recently consuming alcohol, the officer will have sufficient grounds to make a demand.

While the screening device measures blood alcohol levels, it only provides three possible results: pass, warning, and fail. A properly calibrated screening device will register a pass when your blood alcohol is below 50 mg of alcohol per 100 mls of blood. Between 50 and 80, the screening device should register a warning. A reading greater than 80 should register a fail, giving the officer the grounds to arrest you for Driving Over 80.

The screening device does not provided proof of the Drive Over 80 offence. It only provides the grounds for the officer to arrest you for Driving Over 80 and make a “breathalyzer” demand. The “breathalyzer” is similar to a screening device, but provides your actual blood alcohol measurement. The results of a “breathalyzer” can be used to convict you of Driving Over 80.

If the screening device or “breathalyzer” was not a model approved by Parliament, was not tested or calibrated correctly, or if the officer that operated the “breathalyzer” was not a qualified breath technician, you may have a possible defence to your Impaired Driving charge.

To read more articles written by Joshua Rogala, click here to view his website.

*Note: The information on this page is for general knowledge and is not legal advice.