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Important Information About Field Sobriety Tests


Many people feel intimidated because the officers are allowed to lie to them. There was a case where the officer told the person that the video of their conversation would never be used against him in the court of law. I objected to that but the judge said it was okay. The police will always try to convince the person to take the breathalyzer test because if they refuse, then the chances are much better that the person would be able to win the case. If the person refused the test, then the officer would have to show that that the person was impaired by using the sobriety tests that nobody can ever do because they are very difficult to do under any circumstances. A lot of times, the person might be cold, they might be wearing bad shoes, they might have bad knees or there might be a hundred other reasons.

Would The Person Have To Listen To The Police Officer Or Can They Refuse?

The police will tell the person to step out of the car, and the person would not have a choice but to get out of the car. In the past, the police would not be able to do anything as long as the person was sitting in the car, whereas now the person would have to get out of the car, although they would not need to incriminate themselves. The person would have the right to remain silent although that would not mean the officer could not arrest them; there was an occasion where the person said he did not want to talk to the officer, but the officer arrested him anyway. At that point, the judge would have to decide whether there was probable cause to arrest the person for DUI based on what they had seen. They would not have anything to go on if the person had not said or done very much, like the sobriety tests that nobody can complete at any time of the day, let alone late at night, being scrutinized by apolkice officer who is trying to build a case against him. The person would not want to give them potentially incriminating evidence.

Can Someone Refuse The Field Sobriety Tests?

Absolutely, anyone who has been drinking and who thinks they might possibly be over the limit, should politely refuse all the field sobriety tests.

Can Someone Refuse With No Consequence To Themselves?

No, I would not say there would be no consequences, because every state would have consequences for refusing. If someone refused in Illinois, and the judge later found out at some point that there was a basis to ask the person to do the test, then they would suspend the person’s license for one year.

If an officer pulled someone over for speeding and smelled alcohol on their breath, they could ask the person if they had been drinking. The person might confess to having had just two beers, in which case the officer would ask them to do the field sobriety tests. They would tell the person that they did great and then ask them to perform just one more test, at which point if the person said no, that’s enough and they did not want to do anymore tests, then they would get a one year’s suspension if the judge believed that at that point the officer had a reason to make the person do the breath test. This would not be the time to refuse doing the circus act on the side of the road; this would be the time not to argue with the officer and just not talk. The judge would have to believe there was probable cause to believe that the person may have committed a DUI and that there was enough reason to ask the person to take a breathalyzer test.

The judge would find it unreasonable if a police officer pulled someone over and wanted him to start doing tests if the person was not speeding and was drifting within his lane but not committing lane violation.

Do They Have A Drug Recognition Expert?

They would send the drugs away and they would send the person’s urine or blood off to a lab and then just come back and say that a substance was found in the person’s system. When officers testify, depending on how they were trained, they might say that they saw indicia of the person being impaired by drugs. They might talk about whether the person’s pupils were constricted or dilated or whether the person had glassy eyes. Everybody knows how somebody looks when they have been smoking because they would have glassy and red bloodshot eyes, although just because someone had bloodshot eyes would not mean that they were smoking or drinking. In my case, my eyes are always bloodshot because I am older and my eyes have been abused over the years. It is a condition called dry eye and in the morning my eyes water for no reason. Those are factors that a judge would hopefully consider, although the person could never know how he would see it.

Do Videos Help The Case?

Most cases do not go to trial because the evidence is too strong one way or the other. What sometimes makes things a lot easier now is that most squad cars have videos which work like a DVR, so when they flip on the lights, it actually backs up a couple of minutes, so the video would actually show what happened. There was a person who was accused of improper lane usage. The officer flipped on his lights and it backed up around 3 or 4 minutes, so we could see the very first time he saw the client. He tried to say that the person was well to the right of the center line when he was not.

Videos taken from the police car are very helpful because they take away all the officer’s embellishments. In this case the officer embellished the story very heavily by saying that the person was swerving to the left and swerving to the right. I did not even have to argue that case because I told the judge that the video spoke for itself, and it was clear that things did not happen that way, and the judge agreed with me. Most cars now have videos, which have become a very effective tool for both the prosecution and the defense, because they usually give a pretty clear picture as to what happened, although they do not always tell the whole story.

For more information on Dealing With Sobriety Tests, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (847) 244-4636 today.

Barry Boches, Esq.

Get your questions answered - call me for your free phone consultation (847) 244-4636.

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