Wednesday, April 27, 2011

DWI - Field Sobriety Tests - Don't do 'em

Field Sobriety Tests are commonly used by the police to ascertain whether a driver is "under the influence." However, to most experience Minnesota DWI Attorneys these controversial "tests" are fertile ground for debate in court - regarding what they don't demonstrate about an individuals level of intoxication.

As is common - when asked to do something by the police - most of us comply.  Maybe it's because we were asked nicely, or maybe it's because we don't want to be confrontational or appear to have something to hide. Irrespective of one's motivations, in more cases than not - based on the hundreds of DWI police reports I've read through - we're not doing anyone (but the cops) a favor if we submit to these roadside calisthenics.

As you will see in upcoming posts, one's chances of "passing" these tests (even when a driver is not over the legal limit) is often low - considering the conditions under which they're often administered. Plus, if you have been drinking - and the officer has already noted the odor of alcohol coming from you - it's just common sense that he or she is going to note any missteps during your taking of these tests as additional signs of intoxication, no? Remember, his subjective opinion is what will go into the police report - and that carries considerable weight when it comes to charging and prosecuting someone for Drunk Driving.

In the State of Minnesota, the option to take these tests is up to the driver. My advice, to anyone requested to perform them, is - as Nancy Reagan was fond of intoning - Just Say No! As with any criminal case, the burden is on the government to prove you're guilty. Knowing that, why would anyone want to give them additional fuel for their fire? Also, believe it or not - you cannot prove your innocent. If you submit to these tests, more likely than not, the officer is going to pay more attention to the problems with your performance than the perfection of it - and (either he or the prosecutor) is going to slant those missteps in such a way as to bolster their case against you.

Most likely if your reading this, the question as to whether you want to - walk the line, or stand on one leg has already been put to you and you've agreed. If that's the case, there are ways to work with that; however, for those of you a tad more fortunate, I hope you never find yourself in such a position, but if you do --- Just say no.

Remember, for questions like this, an experienced Minnesota DWI Attorney is always just a phone call away; use him or her to learn your rights and to minimize the evidence the government collects from you.

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