If you are stopped for drunk driving, there are a few things you should know about what rights you have at the time of the stop.
First, say as little as possible!!! The officer will ask you preliminary questions. Chances are, these answers will be admissable if you go to trial. If you admit that you had 4 beers, that will go in the police report, and most likely come out at trial. Your best answers if you have been drinking is to tell the officer that you don’t wish to answer any questions without a lawyer present.
Refuse field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are subjective. They are all up to how the officer perceives you completed them. You could feel that you executed each test properly, and still have the officer decide to fail you on the test. These are very rarely video recorded. If you refuse to do the tests, you are to be arrested immediately, however, your refusal is inadmissable at trial.
Portable Breath Tests are typicaly inadmissable. If you choose to take a breathalyzer at the side of the road, it will typically be held inadmissable at the trial. Because there is no way to calibrate the unit before each breath, the reading will be held inadmissable unless the Commonwealth of Massachusetts wants to pay an expert to testify to the unit’s accuracy. It is a good chance for you to figure out whether you should take the breath test at the station, which is admissable. If you score over the .08 on the portable breath test, chances are you would fail the actual breathalyzer.
Stay quiet. Once you are arrested, do not talk to the officer. Be polite, yes sir, no sir. Remember that once you are given your Miranda Warnings ANYTHING YOU SAY WILL MOST LIKELY BE ADMISSABLE. If you are asked questions at the station about how much you had to drink, where you were drinking, or anything like that, tell the officer you don’t want to answer those questions without a lawyer present.
Breathalyzer Test: If it is your first offense, and you refuse the breath test, your driver’s license will be suspended for 6 months. That being said, if you are drunk, and you refuse the test, you are greatly increasing the odds that you can win your case at trial.
Video Evidence: Keep in mind that most police stations are video monitored. The police can use the booking video as evidence against you at trial. Be careful not to make any incriminating statements. Try to stand up straight. This evidence can be make it or break it depending on how you carry yourself, whether your speech is clear, and whether you act out during the booking process. Keep in mind that all other observations are the officer’s subjective memories. The content on the video tape is objective evidence that the judge or jury can view and make a decision based on your conduct.
If you have been arrested for OUI/Drunk Driving in Massachusetts, contact my office for a free consultation.