If you’re pulled over by the police, do not talk:
If you have the misfortune to be pulled over by the police, politely hand them what they ask for, your driver’s license and your proof of insurance and tell them, “I will not talk to you.” The fewer words the better. Even that short sentence will show up in the police report as “slurred speech and strong odor of alcohol.” Guaranteed.
If you’re pulled over by the police, do not take field sobriety tests:
Standard Tests Include:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus test (“follow this pen with your eyes without moving your head”)
- One Legged Stand
- Walk and Turn
- Preliminary Breath Test (PBT)
The PBT seems to be the most confusing. People think it is a breathalyzer. It isn’t. You will see the breathalyzer in the police station. If you are asked to blow into it on the side of the road, it is not an actual breath test as required by law and you can — and should — refuse it.
The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:
“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
A really useful summary of this amendment is “don’t talk to cops.” Expanded version: “Don’t EVER talk to cops.” This includes taking — NOT taking — Field Sobriety Tests.
Professor James Duane at Regent School of Law puts it well: