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  • Writer's pictureSchuyler Laverentz

Should I stay or should I blow?

Note: This is a true story. Only the names of the individuals involved and the underlying facts have been changed.

A friend of mine was pulled over by the highway patrol a few months ago for making an incredibly dangerous left turn. Like, something Toonces the Driving Cat would have been proud of (Google it, kids).

Anyway, this friend had just left a local bar where he had spent several hours and, in addition to being charming and gregarious, had drank himself silly. He wisely (note the facetiousness) decided to skip Uber and got in his car and decided to toodle home. After a mile or so, he proceeded with his ridiculously stupid traffic violation that, as it happens, was in full view of a passing patrol car.

My friend didn't know the gendarme had been watching, he was happy simply to not have caused an accident. His passenger was groping for the defibrillator in the back seat when they both saw the "cherries and berries" in the rearview mirror.

After coming to a stop and before the officer got out of his car, my friend asked his passenger if he should admit to having consumed alcohol. His quick-thinking buddy said he should not, so they both sat and waited. The first question my friend got was about the crazy traffic maneuver. He apologized profusely. The officer then asked him to come back to his cruiser, which he did.

His friend waited. And waited. And, after about ten minutes, his friend opened the door of the car, put a ticket for an illegal left turn on the console, and proceeded to tell his story. The officer had asked him to submit to a preliminary breath test (PBT), which he had politely refused. A PBT is a small, handheld device that inaccurately determines whether you have consumed alcohol and, also inaccurately, how much. YOU DON'T HAVE TO TAKE IT AND IT WILL NOT AFFECT YOUR LICENSE.

The officer said he smelled alcohol. (Alcohol has no odor). He asked my friend to step out and consent to perform field sobriety tests, which normally consist of the horizontal gaze nystagmus (administered incorrectly pretty much all the time), the walk and turn (same) and the one leg stand (you guessed it). My friend politely refused all his requests.

Did it result in arrest? Nope. Did it result in a DWI? Nope. Will it happen to you? Probably not. But, refusing all of the tests at the scene of the arrest (different at the police station where you should be read implied consent and refusal can result in the suspension of your license) will not affect your license and may not allow the prosecution to gather enough evidence to convict you.

REMEMBER: Don't Drink and Drive.

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