Individuals who are stopped should remain silent. You are under no obligation to submit to field coordination testing. You should politely refuse and stay in your vehicle until ordered out by the police. At that point the officer has already decided there is cause to arrest you and is accumulating additional evidence to use against you on your day in Court. Then comes the decision about taking a breath test.
Breath testing is a subject of continuing debate. Since Massachusetts adopted laws requiring a “guilty” finding upon a breathalyzer reading of .08 of higher the breath test is an important element of proof for the prosecutor who will be handling your case. Many attorneys used to advise to never take the breathalyzer. Bear in mind, one 12-ounce beer equals 1.25 ounces of hard liquor or one four-ounce serving of wine. One’s blood alcohol level generally increases .02 percent for each serving. Over an hour, your body clears the alcohol, through metabolism and excretion, at a typical rate of .015 percent. Many experts believe that breathalyzers are inherently incapable of properly discerning one’s true alcohol blood level.
Melanie’s Law, which went into effect October 2005, provides first offenders will lose their license for 180 days if they refuse the breath test. Second offenders lose it for three years. Third offenders for five years. Fourth offender lose it for life even if they are not ultimately convicted of drunk driving! See the penalty section outlined below.
It is my opinion most people should refuse the test as the penalties on convictions are severe. However, all first offenders, who believe their blood alcohol level is low, should take the test. Even if you fail you will be able to get a limited license back sooner then if you refuse.