My personal opinion, based upon the
lack of quality control utilized by the various police departments
in their breath testing programs, and the high financial
incentives that Police Officers have to make illegal arrests, and
to embellish their testimony to be called for a trial, I would
never submit to any breath tests or field sobriety tests even if I
feel I am 100 % sober. This is the opinion I actually stated
before a large audience of Lawyers, Judges, and Prosecutors when I
gave a lecture on DWI before the Nassau County Bar Association in
2007. It is an opinion I still stand by to this day.
While some may argue that refusing to
submit to these tests is harmful to a person criminal case, this
is not necessarily the case. After many years of research, it is
in my opinion, that tests results are not always reliable and test
results can even be manipulated. While Prosecutors often
attempt to argue that a person's refusal to take a sobriety test
is motivated by fear of the test results, in arguing for a
conviction in a DWI case. This is often times is far from the
truth, and is a weak argument. In fact, such an argument by a
prosecutor is often rejected by a panel of intelligent jurors.
One needs to
consider that in Our Country, the DWI suspect or any other
suspect, is Presumed Innocent under the U.S. and State
Constitutions. Coupling this with the Law, that the Burden of
Proof is on the Prosecutor, to prove the defendant was
intoxicated beyond a reasonable doubt; a burden that never shifts
onto a defendant, such an argument does not hold much credence.
In the United States and inclusive of
every State within, a defendant never has to prove that they are
innocent or sober by doing anything. In other countries like Iran,
North Korea and China, Defendants have to prove they are innocent.
While there are legal ramifications
should one be found guilty of Refusal to submit to a chemical
test, I would still not advise anyone who was sober at time of
confrontation or approached by police to place their life on the
results of these tests, which I feel are unreliable at best.
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