In Connecticut, Breath Testing Is Prevalent Unless the Arresting Officer Suspects Use of Narcotics or Other Drug
Interviewer: In Connecticut, what is the standardized testing? Do the police tend to do more blood tests or breath tests?
Jack O’Donnell: Breath tests, by and large, is the way to go. However if the officer suspects that you’re either also under the influence of narcotics or only under the influence of narcotics, they’ll ask for a urine test.
Where Does the Connecticut Police Perform Their Breath Tests? Will They Administer Roadside Sobriety Tests?
Interviewer: Will the breath test be performed at the roadside and at the police station? In some states the police do administer a preliminary breath test at the roadside.
Connecticut Police Will Administer the Roadside Field Sobriety Tests
Jack O’Donnell: The breath test is administered at the police station. The officers will administer a preliminary sobriety roadside test, we call them a California test, where you walk-and-turn, which is the heel-to-toe, a one-legged stand, and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, which is the HGN test. Sometimes they’ll have you count backward and sometimes they’ll have you touch your nose.
Interviewer: Is the HGN where they say “Follow the light that I’m pointing at you with your eyes?”
Jack O’Donnell: Yes, and they tell the individual not to move their head, they can only follow the light with their eyes.
Interviewer: They look to see if your eyes jerk in a certain motion as they’re going back and forth?
Jack O’Donnell: Yes, it is a measure of intoxication.
In Connecticut, Are You Legally Obligated to Undergo the Field Sobriety Tests and the Breath Test?
Interviewer: In Connecticut, are you obligated to take the field sobriety tests?
Jack O’Donnell: No, you can refuse the field sobriety tests and you can refuse the breath test. Whenever you’re out socially, people ask me “Well, if I ever get pulled over, what should I do?” It’s like seeing a doctor at a cocktail party and asking him about the mole on your neck.
For a First DWI Offense, Attorney O’Donnell Advises That You Undergo All Tests Requested by the Police: Multiple DWI Offenders Should Decline
So I just tell them if you’ve never been stopped before, take the roadside test, take the breath test because the license suspension is shorter when you take the test than if you refuse. However, if you’ve had other DWI convictions, you may want to consider refusing the roadside test or refusing the breath test because, at that point, you’re giving them less to prosecute you with.
If You Have Been Drinking, Attorney O’Donnell Advises Circumspection When You Answer Any Questions Asked by the Police
I even tell people if they ask if you’ve been drinking, politely refuse to answer.
Interviewer: How do you refuse where you don’t completely anger the police and they don’t charge you for resisting arrest or deliberately arrest you because you did not cooperate in the manner that they desired?
Jack O’Donnell: If you approach this the wrong way that could happen. But if you’re thinking that I want to give myself the best possible chance of not going to jail or not losing my license, refusals are probably the way to go if you have multiple prior offenses.
A DWI and Defensible Issues: What Happens if You Are Told You Failed the Field Sobriety Tests?
Interviewer: In regards to the field sobriety test, if you are told you failed them and you’re arrested, does that mean you have absolutely no chance of prevailing during your criminal trial?
Failure to Perform the Field Sobriety Tests Will Not Render Your DWI Case Hopeless
Jack O’Donnell: Well, then you go down to the station and you take the breath test but if you blow under the legal limit and this is a misconception: if you blow under the legal limit, they can’t ‘un-arrest’ you.
You’re still under arrest, you still have to go to court, and then the prosecutor can dismiss all charges because you blew .06, which is under the legal limit.
If they found probably cause to place you under arrest because you admitted to a consuming a few drinks and you have an odor of alcohol about you, your eyes are glassy, you’re slurring your speech, and you failed a couple of the tests but you get down to the station and you pass the breath test, you’re still under arrest. You still have to go to court.