Do you hate tests? If so, you are definitely not along. Most college students in New Jersey have at least a small dislike for the testing process. All those hours of studying, memorizing, and otherwise trying to cram massive amounts of information into your brain in order to later regurgitate it on paper in an exam can be quite stressful. In fact, sometimes you might just need to take a break and kickback for a while, away from the books.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, and you likely look forward to socializing on and off campus as one of the highlights of your college career. You’re also not naive, so you understand the risks involved with college parties, especially those that include drugs or alcohol. If a police officer pulls you over, let’s say because your car went a tad bit over the yellow line, he or she may ask you to take a few other tests that will make you wish you were back in your dorm room, studying for finals.
Field sobriety tests and possible consequences of failure
When you hear the words, “Please step out of your car” from a police officer, you can logically assume that the rest of your night may not turn out so well. If the officer’s next sentences include requests to perform field sobriety tests, you may want to do a quick recollection in your mind of your constitutional rights and resources available to help you in times like these. As for the tests themselves, the following information may be helpful:
- Several parts of your body are key to successful field sobriety tests, namely your limbs, eyes and brain. That’s because police use the three most common types of field tests to gauge your coordination and ability to focus, and follow simple instructions, simultaneously.
- The walk and turn test is the one with which most people are familiar. You have probably seen this test played out in movies more than once. An officer may ask you to hold you arms out, away from your body, to the sides, at shoulder length, then walk a straight line by placing the heel of one foot at the top of the toes on the other. Once you get to the end of the line, the officer will ask you turn and repeat the process. Any stumbling, tripping (Hopefully, you grew out of your clumsy stage before college!) or error could land you in jail.
- Another test measures your eye movements, more specifically, the erratic movements of your eyes when you move them side-to-side while following an object, such as the police officer’s hand, holding a pen in front of you.
- When you were a child, you may have held contests with your siblings or friends to see who could stand on one foot, longest. A field sobriety test gives this game a whole new meaning, for sure. Not only might the police officer who pulled you over ask you to stand on one foot, you may also have to count out loud by thousands while doing so.
The bottom line is that these are tests you do not want to fail. Even if you did not have single drop of alcohol, if a police officer thinks you did, and if you do not fare well in a field sobriety test, you may spend the next months of your life fighting against drunk driving charges in court.
If that’s the case, know where to turn for help
Back to your constitutional rights — always remember that you can request legal representation the moment a police officer asks you to exit your vehicle. Many New Jersey resident invoke their Fifth Amendment rights (to remain silent) until an attorney is present.