What Is The Officer Looking For In The One-Leg Stand Test?
During the one-leg stand test, an officer will ask the driver to raise one leg approximately six inches above the ground while pointing their toes upward and counting in the following manner: “One-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand” and so on until reaching 31,000. How many people can do that without moving at all? I would argue that nobody can; it’s a joke.
Another problematic aspect of this test is that many people have conditions or injuries that would prevent them from performing the test accurately, but this is not taken into consideration by the officers. Personally, I’ve had five knee scopes from playing sports my whole life, and all of the field sobriety tests would bother me. If a person states that they have an injury or condition, the officers will have them perform the tests anyway. If a person refuses based on the existence of a condition or pain in their legs, the officer will assume that they are refusing simply because they are under the influence.
If a person puts their foot down, fails to count to 31,000, counts too fast or counts too slow, then the officer will mark these as clues. In addition, it is not uncommon for an officer to say that the person did not follow their specific directions, which would count as a clue as well. From the beginning, everything is set up against the individual who is submitting to these tests.
If you have any doubt as to your ability to perform any of these tests, you should simply say, “I don’t want to take any test. My attorney told me that I don’t have to, so I am not going to.” Don’t argue with them. Of course, the officers will not be clear about the fact that you have the option to refuse the tests. Instead, they are going to say, “We want you to step out of the car and take these tests to make sure that you are safe to drive home.” By phrasing it that way, it makes it sound like it is all for a good reason (which is the way it should be). However, if you say, “I don’t want to take the test. I am exercising my right not to say anything or do anything,” then they are going to arrest you on the spot.
From a defense standpoint, refusing the tests helps to form a much stronger case because it forces the officers to find other sources of evidence that indicate intoxication (bloodshot eyes, horrible driving, an odor of alcohol, etc.). It is important to note that a lot of these stops occur early in the morning, and that’s why I tell people that driving after midnight is like fish swimming upstream toward a bear; the police are just waiting for you. There’s nobody except cops and people coming home from bars between midnight and three in the morning. If you’ve been drinking, you should wait until closer to five in the morning before driving home, because that is when people will be driving to work.
Can Someone Contact An Attorney Prior To Taking A Field Sobriety Test?
If you attempt to contact an attorney prior to taking a field sobriety test, an officer will probably say, “Put the phone away, I am going to arrest you for obstructing a police officer’s commands.” Alternatively, they may say, “Look, you’re not under arrest at this point, so you don’t have a right to have an attorney present.” You don’t really have a right to talk to an attorney, but you can ask. If an officer is nice, they’ll let you talk to someone, but usually they won’t. That is because they know that an attorney will advise you not to take the tests.
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