I had a recent client who was asked to perform some field sobriety tests after he had been pulled over for speeding. After being stopped, the police officer suspected him of a dwi. One of the tests was to recite the alphabet. Instead of speaking it, he sang it! Well, that's how we all learned our ABCs, is it not?
As a matter of law, you are NOT required to perform any field sobriety tests when pulled over; not even the PBT "box" the police have. But if they think you've been drinking, they will arrest you anyway. Back at the police station, they will read you something called the Implied Consent Advisory, and one of the items read off of that form is your right to consult with an attorney prior to submitting to a breath, blood or urine test. If you call me up, I cannot advise you NOT to take the test, as refusing to take the test is a crime. If the refusal sticks, your driving privileges are subject to a year's revocation! And that's hard to "sing" your way out of.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
A couple of weeks ago, there was an article that appeared in The New York Times regarding the the State of New York legislature attempting to pass a law that would make a first time DWI a felony if the accused had a child in the vehicle with them. I'm all for making our streets safer, but we're talking about a first time DWI here, not armed robbery, manslaughter, murder, or rape. A felony? Please. No, you shouldn't drink and drive, especially if you decide to have a child in the vehicle with you. The risk to the child's safety takes a quantum leap if you have alcohol in your system. But to make it a felony is way too harsh. Make it more difficult for that person to become a valid driver again, but don't make the punishment far outway the crime.