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Name: People v. Williams
Case #: C031921
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 05/17/2001
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 9/12/01 (S098552)
Summary

Editor’s note: Review granted. Admission of the results of a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test during a trial for driving under the influence was error due to the number and magnitude of regulatory violations. The PAS tests were not inadmissable because the legislative intent was that they be used only as field sobriety tests, not as substantive evidence intoxication. No statute prohibits their admissibility, and the fact that appellant later refused a chemical test did not make them inadmissable. However, the prosecution failed to lay a sufficient foundation for admitting the tests into evidence, including sufficient evidence of the machine’s working order, the testing officer’s qualifications, and evidence that the test was properly administered. Evidence of a PAS test is inadmissible unless sufficient foundational evidence demonstrates the test was performed in substantial compliance the Department of Health Services regulations embodied in Title 17. Here, there was insufficient evidence. However, the error was harmless because even if the PAS test results had not been admitted, overwhelming evidence remained to support the conviction.