Washington State’s New Field Sobriety Tests to Check for Driving Under the Influ…

Washington State’s New Field Sobriety Tests to Check for Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana.

“Hold these Cheetos in your hands for as long as you can without eating them.”

“Tell me about your favorite Pink Floyd song in less than 30 seconds.”

“Describe the sound you hear when I tap my nightstick on your head.”

“Count backwards from 1 to 0.”

“I’m going to massage your shoulders. Tell me when to stop.”

“Discuss your favorite moments from Discovery Channel’s Shark Week 2007.”

“See how long you can hold your eyes more than 25% open.”

“Look directly into the flashing lights on my patrol car and try not to say, ‘Awesome.’”

“Try to contemplate this without having your mind blown: Is it possible that our entire universe could be contained on the fingernail of a giant existing in a much larger universe?”

“Now, tell me how many bong hits you’ve had tonight.”

DUI Marijuana Field Sobriety Tests In Washington State
DUI Marijuana Field Sobriety Tests In Washington State

Officers use the same Standard Field Sobriety Tests for detection of marijuana DUI as they do for an alcohol DUI. These tests are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Walk and Turn test, and the One Leg Stand test. With marijuana use, the officers are looking for any indicators they can find that show you are impaired in any way through these tests. However, very few sober people can pass without practice. Since these tests are completely voluntary, and there is no penalty if you decline, you should politely decline the tests.
It Is Legal To Refuse A Field Sobriety Test

In response, the officer may try to coerce you into doing the field sobriety tests by telling you that if you pass, you may leave. DO NOT believe this! If they suspect you have used marijuana, they are trained to say this in order to gather as much evidence against you as possible—and they most likely intend to arrest you whether you do the tests or not. Decline them in a manner that is apologetic but firm, such as, “Officer, I respect that you are doing your job, and I intend to cooperate with you so long as my rights are protected. I am now invoking my right to silence and to an attorney upon the advice of counsel, and I decline to perform any sobriety testing.”

Even if you believe that the marijuana use won’t affect your performance in terms of balance, gait or eyes, it is unwise to perform any of these tests because even if you make a slight mistake it will be used against you. In addition, officers rarely allow you to perform these tests in the view of the video camera (if any) thus, they can say you failed even if you did the tests perfectly, and it is your word against theirs.
Measuring Alcohol Content With Portable Breath Tests

Whether or not you do the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests it is also likely that the officer will ask you to do a Portable Breath Test (PBT) to check for alcohol (despite his/her suspicion of marijuana use). Again this test is completely voluntary and there are no penalties for refusing the PBT (do not confuse this for the Breathalyzer test at the police station; refusing that may result in a license revocation of at least a year). If you haven’t had any drinks and blow a 0.000, you are not in the clear, because now the officer has ruled out alcohol and has even greater suspicion of drug use, and next, will try to get you to submit to a Drug Recognition “Expert” (DRE) Evaluation. …read more    

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