WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE STOPPED BY POLICE FOR ALLEGEDLY OPERATING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL
When you are a motorist being stopped by a police officer it is common to be nervous and anxious and it is also common to want to cooperate with the officer’s instructions so that the unpleasant experience will end as soon as possible. However, where this desire to cooperate makes a bad situation worse for an individual is the case where a motorist is asked to step from the vehicle because he/she is suspected of operating under the influence of alcohol (OUI). In such a case, the officer will want you to perform field sobriety exercises so that he/she can report what they observe. The police call them tests but really there is no scientific data that these “tests” show impairment. These tests like the nine step walk and turn and standing on 1 leg with the other outstretched for 30 seconds are designed to throw off your center of gravity. Many people whether they have consumed an alcoholic beverage or not have difficulty performing them. What many people don’t know is that you have the right to respectfully refuse to perform them. In addition, if you are suspected of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, you should refuse to take the breathalyzer test. Many people take both the field sobriety tests and the breathalyzer in effect providing evidence for their conviction to the police. The Registry of Motor vehicles mandates that your license to operate a motor vehicle will be taken away for a period of time for refusing to take the breathalyzer test but at the same time the government will not have the evidence needed to convict you. If you respectfully refuse to take the field sobriety tests before the breathalyzer, you will inconveniently be arrested and charged but the government will have an even weaker case against you because the police will not be able to report their observations in their police report. You will have to go to trial but your chances of being convicted without this evidence is very low and your attorney may subsequently ask the court to reinstate your license. Bottom line: Refuse to take the field sobriety tests and breathalyzer test if you are stopped by the police under suspicion of operating your motor vehicle under the influence of liquor.