WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s not often people get intoxicated and fail sobriety tests for officers on purpose; but Friday night, some folks did just that. A group of interns from our district attorney’s office took part in what’s called a wet lab. It’s an opportunity to learn about the process of administering sobriety tests as well as what it’s like to blow a .08 and actually perform the tests.
To respect the wishes of the DA’s office, we did our interviews before the interns started consuming.
“Well, I’m kind of scared because I don’t quite know everyone just yet, and I’m about to get intoxicated in front of them,” DA’s office intern Shannon Pearce. “We’ll see how that goes.”
“I don’t think that I am going to get drunk,” intern Matthew Pierce said. “I don’t even think that I’m going to hit a .08, but I really don’t know.”
Pierce and Pearce are two of the about 15 interns from District Attorney Ben David’s office who took part in a wet lab under the watchful eyes of men in uniform. Not only was this a learning experience for them but also a training exercise for the officers.
“I’m excited to take the test because I don’t know what goes into it,” Pearce said. “I’ve never had to take a field sobriety test at all, much less a breathalyzer. It’ll be interesting to see at what point and how I feel and what I blow.”
The interns were instructed to drink while Lt. Todd Radabaugh of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission taught them all about the different field sobriety tests and how they are given. Radabaugh said many people don’t realize how intense a .08 really is.
“Even with just alcohol, you can become impaired with less then the .08,” Radabaugh said. “But when you combine the alcohol with other drugs, the effects can be compounded.”
The interns said while the exercise was interesting and even fun at times, driving while impaired is a very serious issue and one they must know a lot about in terms of policy and procedure.
“You want to know why at a .08 you’re so impaired that no one thinks that you should safely drive on the road anymore,” Pierce said.
“I think the most important aspect of it is understanding your limit, to when you can and can’t drive,” Pearce said. “At that point, when you get on the road, you’re endangering not only yourself but other people.”
This is the third year the district attorney’s office has taken part in the wet lab. The participants said the training was very eye-opening.