Subscribe to LexTalk to stay on top of today’s legal issue and trends.
Catapult Your Career |
Industry Insights & Trends |
Product Training & Tips
Absolutely. Many individuals do not realize that they have the right to refuse to take a field sobriety test if they are pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI). This is most likely because it is not legal to refuse to take a blood, breath, or urine test to determine one's blood alcohol content (BAC) after he or she has been arrested. Refusal to take this second type of test, which is normally administered through a Breathalyzer, an electronic device that uses a breath sample to determine an individual's BAC, can result in the suspension of one's driver's license for up to one year. Blood, breath, and urine tests are scientific tests whose results may be used as evidence in court. Field sobriety tests are not scientific and because of this, their results are not strong enough to be used as evidence in court. However, failing a field sobriety test can be noted in an arrest report or used as grounds for the police to arrest the individual. These tests are set up for you to fail, so protect yourself against a DUI charge by refusing to take one if you are asked to do so.
Remember, the field sobriety test is setup to make you fail and give an officer a reason to arrest you for DUI. In the course of this test, you may be asked to walk and turn or to maintain your balance standing on one leg. Balancing on one leg can be difficult for many individuals for a variety of reasons, especially when an individual is standing on uneven pavement, wet ground, or is nervous because he or she has been pulled over for DUI. Similarly, walking and turning can be difficult when it is dark outside and an individual is facing flashing police cruiser lights, oncoming traffic, and the pressure to pass the test.
The other portion of the standard field sobriety test, the horizontal gaze nystagmus, is conducted by flashing a bright light into the driver's eye to see if the eye involuntarily jerks while following the light. The jerk is meant to show that the driver is under the influence of alcohol, but it can also occur as the result of a neurological condition. A simple nystagmus is not enough to convict an individual of DUI, but it can be used to justify an arrest and subsequent Breathalyzer test. The best way to handle a field sobriety test is to refuse to take it.
If you have been charged with DUI in Atlanta, be proactive about your case's defense and seek help from an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. Working with the right attorney can mean the difference between having your charge lowered or dismissed and facing the full penalties for the charge. Be your own advocate and work with an experienced lawyer to defend your case.