What Are Your Rights At The Police Station?

Interviewer: When do police ask people if they will take a breath test? Are they asked when sitting next to the machine at the police station? Are they asked before they are arrested; or while in the police car?

Shannon: The officer runs through the Implied Consent Checklist. At the very end, they say, “Will you take the breath test? Will you submit to the breath test?” At that point, they are looking for a yes or no answer.

Interviewer: Do officers always ask at the police station? Will they ask sooner, perhaps while you are in the police car, to cut your time to think about it?

Shannon: They could talk to you about it beforehand. However, the law requires officers to read from that checklist. Usually, they do it at the Intoxilyzing machine. Also, a lot of times the officer will start their observation period. Under the law, you must have an observation period to make sure someone is not regurgitating or putting anything in their mouth; or not doing anything else before taking the test.

A lot of times, the officer will claim they are reading the checklist and simultaneously conducting the observation period. They are doing two statutory requirements. I am always impressed by that. How are you reading something verbatim from a sheet and watching someone at the same time?

Interviewer: Are there cameras or video recordings at the police station?

Shannon: Some stations do have video recordings and some stations do not have video recordings in their Intoxilyzer rooms. It depends on the agency. Some agencies have state of the art equipment. Others are trying to catch up. A lot of times, it is the officer’s word versus your word whether the refusal happened or not.

Interviewer: Can you request that your statements are written down; or request to be put in front of a video camera so your statements are recorded? Will they listen to you?

Shannon: They do have to let you know if you are being recorded. However, you do not have a right to have your statements recorded. I do not think you can request that. You can always request time to make that phone call and speak to an attorney.

Shannon I. Wilson, Esq.

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