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At approximately 12:12 a.m. on August 28, 2022, Newton Police Department conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle for driving with its high beam headlights on. The driver was identified as 19-year-old Tayvin Galanakis.
Upon speaking with the driver, the officer conducting the stop observed indicators of possible impairment. Galanakis was asked to perform standardized field sobriety tests; and consented to perform the tests. He failed two of the three standardized field sobriety tests and showed indicators of impairment on additional tests conducted on scene. A breath test showed no presence of alcohol, and Galanakis refused an opportunity to be examined by a drug recognition expert at the time. He was placed under arrest for driving while impaired.
After being placed under arrest, Galanakis was taken to the Newton Police Department, where he voluntarily consented to an evaluation by a second Newton Police Officer trained as a drug recognition expert. He passed the standardized field sobriety tests and other impairment assessments during that examination. After the exam, in the drug recognition expert’s opinion, it was concluded that Galanakis was not impaired.
Impaired driving investigations are a dynamic and complex process that requires police officers to utilize their training and experience to identify behaviors and actions of a driver that is consistent with impairment. These investigations involve the use of standardized field sobriety tests as well as other forms of assessments to measure things such as balance and physiological responses. Although alcohol and drug impairment is consistently the primary reason a driver would fail these tests, there are other factors that may contribute to failed tests or observations that are consistent with impairment. These factors include, but are not limited to; medical conditions, prescription medication, injuries, vision problems, tiredness, environmental issues, mental state and the driver’s ability to follow instructions.
In this case, once the drug recognition expert was able to complete a thorough examination, it was clear Galanakis’ performance on the standardized field sobriety tests and other assessments was impacted by reasons other than impairment by alcohol or drugs and he was subsequently released without charges.