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Most people know, or have heard, that they have the “right to remain silent” when being questioned by law enforcement officers. But what does that actually mean, and when should someone invoke this right?
The goal of this article is to level the playing field between law enforcement officers and drivers who are asked to perform Field Sobriety Tests (FST’s).
Typically, when a motorist is pulled over on suspicion of Operating Under the Influence (OUI), a law enforcement officer will ask the driver to exit the vehicle and perform standardized field sobriety tests. Based on observations by the officer, he or she may ask the driver to submit to a breath test (known as a Breathalyzer or Intoxilyzer).
Under Maine law, if there is probable cause to believe a person has operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants, that person shall submit to and complete a test. See 29-A §2521. This reading of the statute may leave some feeling as though the breath test is mandatory at the request of a law enforcement officer.
However, under Maine law there are provisions which increase the punishment for people who refuse to submit to an alcohol test. Therefore, it can be inferred that the tests are not absolutely mandatory if the driver is willing to incur increased penalties.
In short, it depends.
At the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, individuals looking to gain temporary access for work or other matters may be prohibited from entering if they have pending criminal charges. In fact, all misdemeanor and felony charges, except first-offense Operating Under the Influence (“OUI”), will prevent an individual from gaining access to the Shipyard until the case has been finally adjudicated.
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