Callaghan & Callaghan – Attorneys – Rhode Island



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Field Sobriety Tests? To take or not to take?

Any motor vehicle moving violation, from speeding to driving too slowly, could result in a traffic stop. Depending on the circumstances, a law enforcement officer could ask a driver to perform a series of field sobriety tests before allowing that driver to continue operating the motor vehicle. So, the question is, if you have been stopped by law enforcement should you take the field sobriety tests? And what happens if you refuse to take those tests? Or better yet – can you refuse to take the tests?

Field sobriety tests include but are not limited to the walk and turn, one legged stand, and horizontal gaze nystagmus. (And field sobriety tests are different than breathalyzer tests – more on that in a future blog.) As you read this post, give the walk and turn a shot. For the walk and turn, start from a standing position with your feet together. From that point, either walk along a line, or imagine a straight line on the floor. Walk forward nine steps and make sure your heel touches your toe on each step. At the conclusion of nine steps – no more, no less – turn around, and walk back to your starting point while again walking heel to toe. Any misstep, loss of balance, waving of the arms, or additional step will likely count against you. In addition, think about doing it on a dark road, in the middle of the night, under the direct supervision of a law enforcement officer, while other cars speed past….

In short, while the walk and turn sounds simple, in reality it’s quite difficult.

That is just one of the tests that you might be asked to take when under the suspicion of driving under the influence. By law, the police cannot force you to take any tests. And in some circumstances, taking a test will only serve to harm your case. Call Callaghan & Callaghan today to discuss your options in any alcohol related traffic stop or situation.

The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from this site, clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the site without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the state of Rhode Island.]