Central Breath Testing (CBT)
After an arrest for DUI, the arresting officer will request that the person submit to a chemical test for intoxication and inform the subject that, should he or she refuse, his or her driver’s license will be subject to suspension for the period required by law.
For a breath test or urine test, the suspect is usually taken to the Central Breath Testing Unit (often called “CBT” or “CBTU”), a facility managed by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
CBT is located at the Orient Road Jail in Hillsborough County. At CBT, breath alcohol tests are administered. In some cases, the breath-alcohol test might be administered at a mobile facility or transported to the scene in a patrol vehicle.
Attorney for a Breath Test at CBT in Hillsborough County, FL
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Procedures at CBT in Hillsborough County, FL
When a breath test is administered at CBT, the arresting officer will arrest the suspect for DUI and then escort them into the CBT facility. When they arrive, the arresting officer will give the breath test operator a document known as the “Breath Alcohol Analysis Report” or Form HCSO 5730.
The form documents when the 20-minute observation period began, the serial number of the breath test instrument assigned, whether the breath test occurred, the reading, and other statistical data. This form is used to confirm that the subject did not take anything orally and did not regurgitate during the observation time.
If the subject submits to a chemical test, the breathalyzer operator will complete the Chemical Test Report in triplicate and the Central Breath Testing (CBT) facility’s Alcohol Influence Report for court testimony.
The arresting officer must sign a form attesting that the subject has been observed by him or her for twenty minutes at the CBT or BAT facility prior to taking the breath test.
The 20 minute observation form confirms that the subject did not smoke, belch, regurgitate, drink any liquid, or take any substance by mouth during the observation time.
Under the implied consent law, two breathalyzer tests must be given within five minutes. If a suspect takes the first test, but refuses to take a second (or possibly third) test, then the subject is to be considered to have refused the test.
If the two tests indicate two different blood alcohol levels of more than .02% deviation, a third test will be given. The results of all tests will be placed on the report form with a notation as to which was the first, second, and third test.
The person tested may, at his or her own expense, have a physician, or any other qualified person of his or her own choosing, conduct an independent test in addition to a test administered at the direction of a peace officer, for the purpose of determining the amount of alcohol in his or her blood.
Florida Law provides that officers shall not interfere with the person’s opportunity to obtain the independent test and shall provide the person with timely telephone access to secure the test, but the burden is on the person to arrange and secure the test at the person’s own expense.
Prior to a test of his or her own choosing, the subject must submit to a breathalyzer examination at the direction of the arresting officer. If he or she refuses, procedures shall be followed as outlined in paragraph E., below.
Breath Test Results at CBT in Hillsborough County, FL
After the breath test, the breath test operator will complete a Breath Alcohol Test Affidavit, (Form FDLE 38), which shows the breath-alcohol test results and the FDLE certification for the Breath Test Operator.
The Breath Test Operator is a person qualified to administer a breath test utilizing an approved instrument according to FDLE standards.
If the person refused to submit to a breath test, then the arresting officer will complete a CBTU DUI Refusal Affidavit (Form HCSO 5224) which is retained by CBT. The affidavit verifies that a properly operational breath test instrument and Breath Test Operator were available at CBT.
Alcohol Breath Analysis Technician
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office employs several Alcohol Breath Analysis Technician (sometimes called the Breath Test Operator). The pay scale for the Alcohol Breath Analysis Technician is $16.29 to $29.36 hourly or $33,883.20 to $61,068.80 per year.
The duties of the Alcohol Breath Analysis Technician include:
- collecting, testing, or analyzing breath samples from persons suspected of driving while intoxicated (DWI);
- operating video cameras and recorders to film sobriety tests of persons suspected of DWI;
- providing urinalysis test kits to law enforcement personnel, inform procedures to follow for test kit use, and provide a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Toxicologist form for specimen recording;
- testifying in court to facilitate the understanding of basic alcohol physiological effects and the methodology, procedures, and results obtained from alcohol chemical testing;
- recording and filing sobriety videotapes and chemical tests for intoxication to maintain chain of custody;
- entering driving under the influence (DUI) citation information and breath analysis test results into the Citation Tracking System (CITS);
- demonstrating and explaining chemical test and equipment to law enforcement personnel, the general public, and persons suspected of DUI.
Breath technicians at HSCO must have a working knowledge of the following:
- state and county laws, ordinances, and regulations governing alcohol breath analysis;
- court procedures and actions;
- safety measures in the use of alcohol breath analysis equipment and supplies.
Additionally, the BTO need the ability to do the following:
- use of and care of alcohol breath analysis equipment and supplies;
- follow established procedures;
- communicate effectively both orally and in writing;
- handle difficult situations involving hostile individuals;
- handle confidential information;
- collect, organize, and evaluate data and develop logical conclusions;
- organize information into a logical presentation format;
- maintain work-related records and prepare reports.
BTOs work in rotating shifts to include nights, weekends, and holidays.
Each BTO must earn a valid State of Florida permit to conduct alcohol testing as a Breath Test Operator or earn the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Alcohol Breath Analysis Technician Trainee status.
Contact Information for the Central Breath Testing Unit at HCSO – Visit the website of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office to find a phone number for CBT at the Jail Division 1 at Orient Road Jail.
This article was last updated on Thursday, April 9, 2020.