Field Sobriety Tests
When pulled over, if the law enforcement officer believes that you have been drinking or under the influence of drugs, the officer may ask you to submit a field sobriety test. These tests are fairly well-known due to abundant media portrayal, and for the most part, the media is correct: in a field sobriety test, you’ll have to walk a straight line, stand on one foot, and/or follow a moving object while the officer judges the movements in your eyes. These tests help police gather further probable cause, giving them lawful justification for conducting a chemical chest via blood, urine, and/or breath.
However, despite common knowledge on field sobriety tests, there are numerous misconceptions. For example, it is not widely known that field sobriety tests in New York are not mandatory and they can be refused. Understanding field sobriety tests can help you better protect your rights during a traffic stop. If you’ve been arrested for DWI, however, you need an experienced and competent Orange County, NY, DWI attorney.
Common Misconceptions About Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests have never been reliable indicators of sobriety. Some of the standard NY tests, such as the walk-and-turn test (68 percent accurate) or the one leg stand (65 percent accurate), can be difficult even for the completely sober. As mentioned earlier, you can refuse to take the field sobriety tests. New York’s Implied Consent Law only applies to the penalties for refusing a chemical test, such as breath, urine, or blood. Refusing a chemical test can result in an automatic license revocation for at least a year, and you could still receive a criminal DWI charge as well. Refusing field sobriety tests, however, is not a violation of New York vehicle and traffic laws. The field sobriety test results will only be used against you in the court of law.*
If you do refuse the field sobriety tests, you are not immune from arrest. The officer can still ask for a chemical test under NY Implied Consent laws. However, it is important to note that, as a NY DWI defense attorney, one thing we investigate is the arresting officer’s reasonable suspicion that you had been drinking or taking drugs. This is where complex issues in DWI cases arise; for instance, if the police report shows that you were swerving, your eyes were bloodshot, and you refused to take the field sobriety tests, does the police officer have enough evidence to justify reasonable suspicion and, therefore, a chemical test?
If Charged With DWI, Call the Law Office of Benjamin Greenwald
Fighting a DWI case is never a simple affair. Nonetheless, you have your rights. Of course, it is always a good idea to be cordial with police officers, but politely refusing the field sobriety test is not an admission of guilt. Nonetheless, we at the Law Office of Benjamin Greenwald cannot tell you what will happen if you decide to refuse the test. We will, however, aggressively defend your case in courts, diligently investigate every detail leading up to the traffic stop and subsequent arrest, and ensure that your rights were respected along every step of the way. For a free consultation with Orange County, NY, DWI lawyer Benjamin Greenwald, contact our law office today at (845) 567-4820.
*Information presented on this website is not to be used as legal advice from the Law Office of Benjamin Greenwald.