It’s no secret that IUP and other Pennsylvania college campuses often include a party scene. If you’re of legal drinking age, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a few cold ones with friends (provided they are also of legal drinking age) on a weekend or in your free time. After all, you spend most days in class, studying and trying to keep up with your scholastic schedule as you journey toward a college degree. So long as you obey the law, all should be fine.

There might be some exceptions, however. For instance, what happens if you attend a party and only have a drink or two, then a police officer pulls you over when you’re driving back to your apartment or dormitory? There are so many variables in such situations that you might wind up with nothing more than a warning to lower your driving speed. Then again, you could also land behind bars if you submit to field sobriety tests and fail.

Ways to not fail

There are basically three types of field sobriety tests that most police officers use when they suspect motorists of drunk driving. If a police officer asks you to get out of your car, you can be certain he or she suspects you have committed a crime, and that crime may be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The following list includes things you want to make sure you do not do if you submit to field sobriety tests:

  • It is always a very bad idea to try to run away from police. Not only will you be guilty of non-compliance, they are likely to suspect that you are guilty of DUI or some other crime as well if you feel the need to escape.
  • How well you can balance and walk straight may impact the outcome of your situation. One field sobriety test involves standing on one foot. Another requires you to walk a straight line by putting the heel of one foot in front of the toes of the other. If you waiver, stumble or fall, you might wind up in handcuffs.
  • You might as well be asking for trouble if you try to make light of the situation by exaggerating your one-foot pose or cracking jokes when the officer instructs you to do something. It’s always best to be as polite and cooperative as possible.

At the same time, you can protect your rights. You do not have to submit to field sobriety tests. If you refuse a Breathalyzer or chemical test, that’s another ballgame, as there may be automatic administrative penalties for your refusal. Police officers do not have free rein when it comes to what they may say or do during a traffic stop. They are bound by strict protocol and you may challenge any evidence later used against you in court if you face charges and believe someone has violated your rights.