As soon as a driver sees the flashing lights on the police car, worry sets in. By the time the officer approaches the car, the driver is panic-stricken. Everything after that tends to be a blur. Events that transpire between a DUI stop and arrest are extremely important so drivers should keep their wits about them and remember every detail. When recounting these events to their lawyers, drivers will realize where mistakes were made.
Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety testing is a standard component of a DUI arrest. The driver is asked to count while standing on one foot and to walk ten steps in a heel-to-toe manner, turn around, and walk back while counting. The law enforcement officer will produce a stick or flashlight and ask the driver to look at it. By moving the stick back and forth, the officer can detect angles of involuntary eye twitching.
What law enforcement officers often do not tell drivers during DUI car stops is that these tests may not be mandatory. As just one example, a driver in Arizona may not be forced to submit to field sobriety testing and cannot be penalized for refusing to take these tests. Refusal can be used as evidence by the prosecution but a good defense lawyer may be able to successfully counter this.
Asking vs. Forcing
After being pulled over for suspected DUI, a driver should pay attention to the words used by the law enforcement officer. Did the officer ask the individual to take field sobriety tests or did the officer force the individual to take these tests? Drivers who feel that they were forced into these tests should report this to their attorney because these tests may be unwarranted if the officer did not have probable cause for the traffic stop.
Good DUI lawyers always instruct clients to refuse field sobriety testing. The tests do not measure anything positive, they are designed to fail, and results are subjective. Performing poorly during field sobriety testing may provide enough probable cause for an officer to make a DUI arrest and can be used by the prosecution as proof at a DUI trial.
Drivers maintaining their innocence who were forced to take field sobriety tests should complete the free DUI arrest evaluation form at DUIRights.com. They will be matched with local DUI attorneys who will review their cases and provide recommendations. With help from these lawyers, many drivers have had their DUI charges dismissed due to forced DUI testing.