If you are pulled over by a police officer while driving in Massachusetts, and the police officer suspects that you may operating under the influence (OUI), you may be asked to perform a field sobriety test. While many people believe that not only do they have a legal obligation to submit to a field sobriety test, but also that doing so is within their best interest, the opposite is often true. The following takes a look into what you need to know about your rights during a field sobriety test.
You Do Not Have to Consent to a Field Sobriety Test
Whether you have been drinking or not, you have the right to politely refuse to take a field sobriety test by saying “No, I do not consent to testing.” Further, it is important that you realize that there is no penalty for refusing to perform a field sobriety test. (However, if you refuse to perform a field sobriety test, you will probably be asked to submit to a breathalyzer test, which you also have the right to refuse.)
Your refusal to perform a field sobriety test cannot be used against you to arrest you or convict you of an OUI/DUI charge.
The Problem with Field Sobriety Tests
Even if you are within the legal limit, performing a field sobriety test may be incriminating. In most cases, refusing a field sobriety test is within your best interest. While the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security requires that police officers administer field sobriety tests in conjunction with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standards, these tests are not flawless. In fact, many researchers believe that field sobriety tests are not an accurate measure of a person’s intoxication. Further, improper administration of field sobriety tests can significantly affect the outcome of the tests. Also, things like inner ear problems, injuries, being overweight, certain medical conditions, and wearing certain shoes (like high heels) can all affect the outcome of a field sobriety test.
What to Do When Arrested for a DUI in Massachusetts
Even if you refuse to perform a field sobriety test, an officer may still arrest you for DUI if they have enough cause to do so. If you are arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence, you need to contact an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you to understand the consequences of your failed field sobriety test, what your options are for fighting field sobriety test results, and how to mitigate a DUI conviction.
At The Law Offices of Paul R. Moraski, our experienced criminal defense lawyer knows how terrifying being arrested for a DUI can be. Before you enter into a plea or accept that your future is ruined, contact our law offices for a completely free and completely confidential case consultation. Paul R. Moraski will work hard for you – call his cell today at 978-397-0011.