Sunday, November 23, 2014

Minnesota DWI - Field Sobriety Tests (Explained)

As an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney, I get a lot of questions about DWIs.  One common inquiry is about Field Sobriety Tests.  Here's some info that you need to know.

Minnesota Field Sobriety Tests

A police officer, after pulling over a driver for suspected Drunk Driving will usually say something to the driver: 

“I need to have you step out of the car and do a few tests to make sure you are okay to drive."  At the time, the driver is not told that he/she has the option to refuse those tests. 

Here’s the skinny. 

Almost always, the purpose for the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) is to gather evidence against you to be used at trial. 

The Truth

There are two ways to convict a person of DWI: one is to prove that they drove and had a alcohol concentration of .08 or more as tested by a blood, breath or urine test. However, suppose a clever defense attorney gets the test kicked out. They can still convict you if they can prove that you drove at a time that you were impaired by alcohol

Whether or not you are “impaired” is determined by the officers observations, your conduct and your statements. It is for this reason that police will tell you to do the SFST. They will later testify in court that your inability to do the test proves you were impaired.

The good news is that you are not required by law to do SFSTs. You have a right to decline. If you decline, do not say you are declining because your are too drunk to do them. Simply say that you invoke your right not to perform those tests. 

The one exception (sort of) to this is the preliminary breath test (PBT) --- that little box that officers have you blow into on the side of the road. 

If you refuse to blow into the PBT the officer can place you under arrest and ask you to do a blood, breath or urine test. But, the PBT is not admissible in court (except for persons under 21) to show the existence of alcohol or if you later refuse the blood, breath or urine test.

Need help, with a Drunk Driving accustation, feel free to call the Rolloff Law Office to get FREE ANSWERS and set-up a consultation: (612) 234-1165

1 comment:

  1. One of our cousins had to undergo this test and was later charged by DUI. He reading was .11. Shall we look for a DUI lawyer to fight our case or nothing can be done?