We are now at the end of the year and the holiday party season is in full swing. At the same time, law enforcement officers are also out looking for operators suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol. If you find yourself in a situation where you are stopped by police after consuming alcohol in any amount, here are a few things you should know.
First of all, the police are trained to look at certain clues in detecting what is believed to be impaired operation. For instance, the police will look to see if the operator maintains the appropriate lane of travel, follows the traffic laws, as well as, how the person stops the vehicle. This is all before the police officer has even spoken to the driver.
Similarly, as the officer approaches the vehicle he/she is looking to see how the operator reacts to retrieving his/her license, as well, as the person’s ability to exit and walk out of the vehicle.
Whether inside or outside of the motor vehicle, it is important to note that under Massachusetts law you are not required to perform field sobriety tests. It is perfectly acceptable to decline the officer’s request to perform such tests, and your refusal can’t be used against you in the government’s case in chief at any subsequent trial.
Furthermore, you are not required to take the breathalyzer test back at the police station, and just like field sobriety tests, any refusal can’t be used against you in the Commonwealth’s case in chief at trial. The issue with a breathalyzer test refusal, however, is that any refusal will have license suspension consequences that increase dramatically based on the number of prior DUI offenses. As a result, if you or someone you know is charged with DUI, contact Massachusetts DUI attorney Shane W. Surrette for a complementary consultation.