If Rhode Island police suspect you of drunk driving, they will pull you over and look for a reason to arrest you and give you DUI charges. When no apparent proof or symptoms of intoxication are available, law enforcement can determine impairment through tests.
Knowing what these tests include and what your rights are can help you prepare for a DUI stop or fight the test results and DUI charges. For further guidance on what to do, speak to a lawyer.
Field sobriety test
Unless you are obviously drunk, the officer may ask you to step out of your car for a field sobriety test. This entails performing a few tasks that reveal impairment, and you do not have to agree to do them. The most common actions the officer will ask you to do are walk in a straight line and turn, balance on one leg and follow a moving object with your eyes (horizontal gaze nystagmus test). Roadside tests are highly inaccurate due to numerous factors, such as:
- Poor weather conditions
- Distracting surroundings
- Your physical health and emotional state
- Your clothing and footwear
In addition, law enforcement may not administer the test or interpret the results correctly.
Chemical tests consist of sampling your breath, blood or urine. The most common test to determine intoxication is blowing into a breathalyzer. Refusing to do so comes with a fee and an automatic license suspension. However, the charges fall under the civil rather than criminal category, whereas driving under the influence is a criminal act. If you do comply, you can contest the results with the assistance of an attorney. The breathalyzer may have improper calibration or the officer improper training. Sometimes even medicine or breath fresheners can lead to false positives. No matter which test you take, request a second one (for which you will have to pay) to ensure accuracy.