Posts tagged DUI field sobriety test

When Stopped for DUI – Advice from a DUI Criminal Defense Attorney

When stopped by an officer while driving after consuming alcohol you should be respectful to the officer and identify yourself by providing your driver’s license, proof of registration, and car insurance.

If you have any difficulty understanding the English language, especially complicated English such as legal terms, request for an interpreter in your first language as soon as possible.  The officer will provide an interpreter by phone if requested.  You should not attempt to understand the officer’s instructions if there is any language barrier.  This is not the time or environment for you to be shy or embarrassed about not understanding English fluently.

The officer will eventually ask you questions related to alcohol.  I would recommend declining to answer any questions related to alcohol.  The officer will likely order you out of your vehicle so he or she can conduct a DUI investigation. The officer will ask you to perform field sobriety tests and/or to submit to a DUI portable breath test.  You should not take any field sobriety test and/or portable breath test, they are voluntary, meaning there is no requirement by law for you to perform either test.  If you decline to take any of the tests the officer will make a decision to either release or arrest based on the officer’s observations up to that point.  The primary reason I advise people to decline taking the field sobriety tests is the fact that the tests are physically difficult and they become even more difficult when you are accompanied by un-ideal circumstances such as; uneven roadways, lack of adequate light, other vehicles driving by, and loud traffic noises making it difficult to hear and concentrate.  The tests are difficult, respectfully decline taking them.

After an arrest for DUI, a person will be taken to the police station.  There they will be presented with at least two forms, the Constitutional Rights Form and the Implied Consent Warning form.  These two forms are very important because they explain your rights and consequences of exercising your rights.  If you have any questions about the forms, do not hesitate to ask the officer to clarify the information so you will have a full understanding.

The Constitutional Rights form will advise a person of their right to have an attorney.  I recommend you always ask for an attorney whenever confronted with a criminal investigation.  It does not matter if you do not know a criminal defense attorney to call.  The officer will contact a defense attorney by phone at no cost to you.  You will be provided a private room to talk to the attorney and ask questions.  Again, if you have any difficulty understanding English you should request to have an interpreter made available to you.

The request to submit to a breath test at the police station is very different and separate from the request to submit to a portable breath test out on the field.  The DUI portable breath test is voluntary and there is no negative consequence from declining to take it. However, if a person declines to take the breath test at the police station it will likely result in a revocation of your driver’s license for at least one year.  The decision to take the breath test at the station is dependent upon many factors, consult your DUI defense lawyer for their recommendation.  I Generally recommend, if it is a person’s first DUI arrest and the person did not consume a lot of alcohol then they should take the breath test.  However, if a person has prior DUI arrests and/or consumed a lot of alcohol then they should not take the station breath test.

In short:

  1. Be respectful to law enforment.
  2. Ask law enforcement for an interpreter if there is any language barrier.
  3. Do not take the field sobriety tests or the portable breath tests, they are voluntary.
  4. If you have questions about legal forms, always ask the officer to clarify until you have a full understanding.
  5. Request to speak to a criminal defense lawyer.
  6. Ask your defense attorney for their recommendations.

If you don’t have a DUI criminal defense attorney’s number programmed into your cell phone, you should do so now, David O 206-459-6392, you never know when you might need it!  I am here to help.

 

Over 100 DUI and Criminal Defense Legal Blogs

Here at David O Defense we are proud to announce that we have reached a new literary landmark by writing over 100 legal blogs!  In celebration of authoring so many literary DUI and criminal defense masterpieces we would like to revisit an oldie but goodie blog, “Know Your DUI Rights”.

Recognize this blog?  We hope you do, because the information in it is valuable and should be put into practice if ever needed.  It’s said repetition is one of the best techniques to anchor information into long-term memory, therefore we believe “Know Your DUI Rights” is worth repeating over and over.

Know Your DUI Rights

KNOWLEDGE is POWER! Know your DUI RIGHTS!

When questioned by law enforcement in Washington State about DUI make sure to exercise your rights.

1. Exercise your right to an attorney, either a private DUI attorney or a public defender.

2. Exercise your right to remain silent during the DUI questioning.

3. Do not consent to detention or search of any type of personal belongings, home, or vehicle.

4. Refuse to perform the DUI field sobriety tests!

5. Refuse to take the DUI portable breath test!

6. Do cooperate at the police station and take the DUI breath test or blood test, unless advised not to do so by your DUI attorney.

 

A special thank you to all those who have followed our blog, we hope you have found some of our writings informative and others entertaining!  We look forward to writing the next 100!

 

Written by DUI and Criminal Defense Attorney, David O

Co-Written by Sarah Ann

TV Star Fails DUI Field Sobriety Test…Blames Christian Louboutin

Ahhhhhhh, Christian Louboutin, the esteemed high-priced red bottom high heels.  A great heel to make a fashion statement and to wear during an evening out.  However, not a good shoe to wear while taking the DUI field sobriety tests.  No one knows this better than Sunny Cross who failed her DUI field sobriety tests while wearing her Louboutins, telling officers while being arrested that her beautiful heels were the reason she failed the DUI tests.

Sunny Cross, known by MTV viewers for appearing on the first episode of hit reality show “Catfish,” was arrested for DUI (driving under the influence) in Arkansas in January of 2013.  Before her arrest, Sunny was asked to take the DUI field sobriety tests while wearing her Louboutins.  Apparently, the officers were unfamiliar with the difficulty and pain associated with walking in 4-5 inch stiletto high heels.  Needless to say, Sunny failed the tests.

Even when completely sober, the savviest of high heel wearers would have major difficulty trying to perform the clown tricks required by the DUI field tests.  Nearly impossible!

Sunny’s claim has validity to it.  She would have performed the DUI field tests better if she had been wearing a shoe that provided balance and stability such as a sneaker or flat.  Her glammy high heels were at fault!

In addition to failing the DUI field sobriety tests, Sonny blew a .08 into the breathalyzer, and was considered to be an impaired driver.  She was arrested and charged with DUI.   Sunny recently pled guilty to the DUI and was sentenced to complete a 90 day substance abuse program.

Three commonly used DUI field sobriety tests are called The Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration):

1.  One Leg Stand – In the OLS test, the suspect is instructed to stand with one foot approximately six inches off the ground and count aloud by thousands (One thousand-one, one thousand-two, etc.) until told to put the foot down. The officer times the subject for 30 seconds. The officer looks for four indicators of impairment, including swaying while balancing, using arms to balance, hopping to maintain balance, and putting the foot down.

2. Walk and Turn – In the WAT test, the subject is directed to take nine steps, heel-to-toe, along a straight line. After taking the steps, the suspect must turn on one foot and return in the same manner in the opposite direction. The examiner looks for eight indicators of impairment: if the suspect cannot keep balance while listening to the instructions, begins before the instructions are finished, stops while walking to regain balance, does not touch heel-to-toe, steps off the line, uses arms to balance, makes an improper turn, or takes an incorrect number of steps.

3.  Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus – In the HGN test, the officer observes the eyes of a suspect as the suspect follows a slowly moving object such as a pen or small flashlight, horizontally with his or her eyes. The examiner looks for three indicators of impairment in each eye: if the eye cannot follow a moving object smoothly, if jerking is distinct when the eye is at maximum deviation, and if the angle of onset of jerking is within 45 degrees of center. If, between the two eyes, four or more clues appear, the suspect likely had consumed alcohol.

 

Witten by S.O

 

 

David O Defense
2211 Elliott Avenue, Suite 200 Seattle, WA 98121
Tel: 206.459.6392
Fax: 888.615.0237
Email: david@davidodefense.com