Do you have to take a Field Sobriety Test?
That is the simple answer. Yet the overwhelming majority of drivers pulled over on the suspicion of drunk driving submit to the tests. Why? Because the police ask them to.
Recently I asked a law enforcement officer how often drivers refuse to take the Field Sobriety Tests. His answer – almost never.
Many people seem to be under the impression that they have no choice but to submit to the tests. That just is not the case. No Rhode Island statute, case law, or ordinance requires anyone to take the walk and turn, one leg stand, or the HGN (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus).
Of course, anyone can pass a field sobriety test. But the tests often occur on dark roads, after a few hours out at a restaurant or bar, as other vehicles fly by, and under the watchful gaze of a police officer. Understandably, that situation can result in an increased anxiety level.
Due to the factors listed above, and because there is no penalty for not taking the tests, it is clear that taking a Field Sobriety Test may not be in your best interests.
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