Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

You take tests in college, but police give tests sometimes, too

As a Louisiana college student, you're likely quite accustomed to taking tests. If you have a high-class rank, you might even be on the dean's list for academic achievement. Then again, if you consider yourself academically challenged, you are definitely not alone in your struggle. The thought of taking a test might cause your blood pressure to soar, a cold sweat to break out and a full-out anxiety attack to occur.

There's not much you can do to get out of taking tests in college. That's why it's a good idea to build a strong support system (perhaps with people who are great at taking tests) and to simply do the best you can to reach your full potential and accomplish your ultimate goal of earning a degree in your chosen field of study. There are other types of tests you might take, however, if a police officer pulls you over in a traffic stop.

You do not want to fail these tests

There are many reasons a Louisiana law enforcement officer might pull you over in traffic. Perhaps you have a non-functioning brake light or the officer believes you were traveling above a posted speed limit. If the reason has to do with suspicion of impaired driving due to drugs or alcohol, the officer might request that you take multiple tests to help him or her determine if there's probable cause to make an arrest. The following list explains several of the most common tests police use to check for evidence of impairment:

  • Preliminary breath test: This is not the same as a chemical Breathalyzer test. A preliminary alcohol screening simply detects whether or not alcohol is present on your breath through use of a mobile breath test device, and you are not legally obligated to take this test. 
  • Breathalyzer test: This test registers your blood alcohol content level. You may not operate a motor vehicle in Louisiana if your BAC is .08 or higher, unless you are under age 21, in which case, the legal limit is .02.
  • Field sobriety tests: Three of the most common field tests police use when looking for probable cause to make a DUI or DWI arrest include the horizontal gaze nystagmus eye test, the walk and turn test and the one-leg stance test. 
  • Personal interview: Police often ask a lot of questions to engage you in conversation, which might be a tool to determine if they think you have been drinking or are otherwise impaired. It is critical that you know your rights and how to protect them.

These are just a few of many tests a police officer who suspects you of drunk or drugged driving may want you to take. On a college test, grading is a lot more objective. There are correct answers, and the more you get right, the higher your grade is. With field sobriety and similar tests, the issuing officer's personal opinion bears significant weight on the ultimate outcome of your situation.

Protecting your rights if police suspect you of DUI

Studying your civil rights as protected under the U.S. Constitution is similar to studying information a professor provides in a lecture hall. The more you know about your personal rights, the better prepared you are to protect them. If you believe someone has violated your rights during or following a traffic stop or DUI arrest, you can seek defense support to try to rectify the situation in court.

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Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

8048 One Calais Avenue | Suite A | Baton Rouge, LA 70809-3483 | Phone: 225-250-1812 | Fax: 225-769-0195 | Baton Rouge Law Office Map