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Your Right to Refuse. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 23 November 2010 20:33

The question always arises from our clients that have been arrested for Driving under the Influence-- "Do I have the right to refuse to take the physical sobriety tests?"  The answer quite simply is absolutely.  In fact, there is no authority given to any member of any police agency that allows them to use physical force to make you take a sobriety test along the roadside or anywhere for that mater.  A police officer is allowed to ask you to take what is called a "field sobriety test" (FST) when they suspect you may be under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.  Often times, however, the officer will phrase his request so that it comes across as a demand, such as telling you that they are going to give you a series of tests.  It is important for you to understand that you are not required to take the tests.

When a law enforcement officer is asking you to take a field-sobriety test, what they are really asking you to do is to confirm their suspicion that you are under the influence.  Understand that their is no pass or fail when it comes to a FST, there is only the officers discretion as to how he/she believes you perform.  They have probably never met you before, they are unaware if you normally walk with a limp or a natural sway, or if you have terrible balance already.  Add this natural physical deficiency with the stress of a police stop alongside a busy highway with vehicles whizzing by and it is not hard to imagine you having a little difficulty while completing one of tests.  Unfortunately, that difficulty will be held against you when you go to court.  The point is, there are alot of reasons why someone may not be able to satisfy an officer's expectations when it comes to the field sobriety tests.  There are also a variety of reasons that someone would refuse to take the field sobriety tests.  Without evidence of your "inability to complete a physical test", the prosecutor at trial will be harder pressed to prove that your motor functions were impaired.

Always be respectful to the officer and politely refuse to take the tests.  It is not necessary to give a reason for your refusal, in fact, any reason that you do give can be used against you later in court.  It is not hard to imagine a creative prosecutor taking your innocent reason and twisting it to make you appear as being allusive and in fear of incriminating yourself as your real reason for refusing. We should know because are former prosecutors.

The most important thing to know in cases where you refuse to take the field sobriety tests is this:  be prepared to be arrested.  If you refuse to take the tests, it can certainly be advantageous to you at the trial, however, you might as well plan on being arrested for the DUI.  Refusing to take the tests is not going to prevent you from being arrested, but in many cases, taking the tests will not prevent your arrest either.  The officer is faced with either arresting you and dealing with the case later or letting someone they believe to be under the influence to continue to drive and possibly place someone else at risk.  You can post bond, hire us, and let us deal with your case at trial and advocate your reason for refusing.  Call the Law Office of Bill Lewis, L.L.C. today at (334) 731-3198 and get an experienced attorney that knows how to deal with these kinds of cases.

Last Updated on Monday, 20 December 2010 22:53
 

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