When pulled over by law enforcement for suspected drunk driving, there are several ways the police will determine whether or not you are under the influence. From breathalyzer tests that determine your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) to blood tests, there are many methods to see if someone is impaired. However, one test in particular, the field sobriety test, poses many issues. Keep reading to learn more about this assessment, whether or not you can refuse to engage, and how a Cobb County DUI lawyer can assist you if you’re in legal trouble for suspected drunk driving.
What Is a Field Sobriety Test?
A field sobriety test is a physical examination police officers use to determine whether or not someone shows signs of impairment. These tests generally rely on three assessments – an eye, balance, and stability test. During the eye test, the officer will examine your eye movements to see if your eyes can travel in a steady, straight line while following an object.
Additionally, the officer will ask you to balance on one leg to observe your balance. Generally, they will ask you to count to a certain number or backward during this portion. Putting your leg down too early, even three seconds shy, can result in a strike against you. Similarly, you may be asked to conduct the traditional “walk in a straight line” test. This assesses your ability to follow directions, as you must complete a specific number of steps before turning around and walking back. Additionally, this will allow the officer to examine your balance and stability, as you must walk in a straight line by placing the heel of one foot to the toe of the other.
Can I Refuse to Participate?
Unfortunately, these tests are flawed and do not accurately collect measurable data proving that someone is impaired. They rely solely on the officer’s observation. Field sobriety tests are not mandatory under Georgia’s implied consent laws, like submitting to a breathalyzer test. However, if you refuse, you could still be arrested based on the officer’s observation alone.
If asked to take a field sobriety test, it’s likely in your best interest not to participate. This could provide evidence suggesting you are intoxicated, even if you are not under the influence.
What Should I Do if I’m in Legal Trouble?
If arrested for a DUI, do not speak to the police until you can consult an attorney. Unfortunately, anything you say to the police can be used against you in a court of law. As such, it is in your best interest to invoke the right to remain silent until you have spoken to legal counsel.
At the Miller Law Practice, we understand the impact a DUI charge can have on your life, especially when incurred as the result of an unfair assessment like a field sobriety test, That’s why our team will do everything possible to help you in these circumstances to provide you with the chance to receive the best outcome possible for your situation. Contact us today to learn how we can guide you through this complex legal matter.