One important piece of information to remember if you have been pulled over for DWI / DUI is that you do not have to take any field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are different than breathalyzer tests which do have consequences for refusing. The three most common field sobriety tests that officers ask suspected drunk drivers to perform are the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk and turn test and the one leg stand test.
This test is used to track the movement of your eyes while they follow an object (usually a pen or a finger). The officer is watching to see if your eyes involuntarily jerk as they follow the object. If the officer sees that your eyes bounce as they follow his finger it is evidence that you are driving while intoxicated.
This test is used to determine your ability to follow instructions as well as to test your ability to maintain your balance. The test consists of walking a straight line heel-to-toe, making an unusual turn at the end of the line and walking back. Any deviation from the officer's instructions will be used as evidence that you were driving under the influence of alcohol.
This test is also used to determine your ability to follow instructions and to give the officer an opportunity to observe how well you are able to maintain your balance. The test consists of having you raise one leg off of the ground while keeping your arms at your sides and, while holding this position, counting out loud until the officer tells you to stop. Any problems that you have performing this field sobriety test will be used as evidence that you were driving drunk.
Some important reasons to consider refusing the field sobriety tests are as follows:
1. You don’t have to take the field sobriety tests and therefore your refusal of them is not admissible in court
2. The field sobriety tests are difficult to pass regardless of the sobriety of the test taker
3. The tests are rarely administered correctly by the officer
4. The results of the tests are largely based on the officer’s opinion
5. Without an officer’s testimony that you failed the field sobriety tests, it will be harder for that officer to justify why you were arrested for Driving While Intoxicated.
In many cases, the results of field sobriety tests are used as evidence against people charged with DWI / DUI. Without the results of these tests, a prosecutor will have a tougher time proving to a judge or jury that the accused was Driving While Intoxicated.
You need to be aware that the breath test (breathalyzer) performed after an arrest for drunk driving is not a "field sobriety test", and if the officer does arrest you for driving under the influence and asks you to blow on the breathalyzer, you should request an DWI attorney experienced in Missouri DWI law before making that decision (as there are consequences for refusing the breath test).
Remember an officer must allow you a reasonable period of time to contact a DWI lawyer if you are arrested for a DWI / DUI. BUT ONLY IF YOU ASK FOR ONE. Once you consult a DWI lawyer and discuss the possible penalties of refusing a DWI breath test, only then should you make a decision about whether to take the breathalyzer test. If you have been charged with Driving While Intoxicated in St. Louis or anywhere else in the Greater St. Louis Missouri area contact DWI attorney Justin Summary to receive a free consultation.