Thursday, February 20, 2014

Failing Field Sobriety Tests: Not So Hopeless

What will happen if a driver who was allegedly driving while intoxicated has failed the field sobriety tests? Contrary to popular belief, you will not be immediately charged with DUI, and you even have a chance to get your charges dropped. Before we explain why, it’s important to know about field sobriety tests first.

What are field sobriety tests?

The Field Sobriety Tests were created to assess a person’s ability to drive, by way of numerous tests that measures their response time, dexterity, and reflexes, things that are important in driving. However, these are imperfect and can be challenged in court.
The primary reason for these tests is to determine probable cause. This is a requirement in all states in the US before the driver can be subjected to a blood or breath test, or for any arrest. The simplest explanation for this is to find a legitimate reason to arrest you.
 If you been tested or arrested without probable cause (i.e. forced), then you can seek reparations through a civil lawsuit for false arrest or malicious prosecution.

There’s still a chance even if you fail the tests

·         The police officer did not follow protocol. Every test performed have to follow proper procedures, or else the results should not be admissible in court. The reasoning behind this is, an innocent person could have been convicted because an officer made a mistake.
·         The testee’s performance might be affected by other factors. For example, people with balance might not be able to complete some of the tests, while some may have physical or mental injuries or ailments that may interfere with the results. A cross-eyed person, or someone who is prone to shaking or stuttering can be mistaken for someone who is drunk.
·         The officer cannot force someone to take these tests. If they have coerced you to take these tests, it is most likely to fail in the first place and it’s a violation of your rights as well. This also includes if the officer was heckling, insulting, or accusing you during the test so you are more likely to fail. If this ever happens, take note of this and speak with your defense attorney.
There is only one surefire way to not fail, which is to not take the test! If the police asked you to perform field sobriety tests on you, you will likely comply, but what most people don’t know, this is a request, not an order. You can refuse these field sobriety tests, and we strongly suggest doing so. There is virtually no disadvantage to doing this, except for the possibility of the officer letting you off without charging anything. However, do not refuse breathalyzer or blood tests. You might have the right to refuse, but you will still be penalized (license suspension for example) and it can be used as evidence in court as an admission of guilt.

If you need help, please contact me at 520 South 4th Street Las Vegas, NV 89101 or Call (702) 383 – 5088.