Refusing The Field Sobriety Tests And Performing The Breathalyzer Can Still Result In A DUI Arrest
Interviewer: What about the opposite? Let’s say if I refused the standardized field sobriety tests, but I do take the breath sample, what would happen in that case more than likely?
Zach Peagler: They could still arrest you. You have to remember, there’s no black and white answer for the police on the side of the road. There’s not a checklist that would say if he refuses the field sobriety but he takes the portable then I can arrest him or vice versa. They’re making a judgment call on the side of the road. At the end of the day there’s nothing that you can do to prevent them from arresting you if they want to arrest you, I mean you would hope if you got out and performed the field sobriety tests well and you take a breathalyzer that’s lower than 0.08, 99% of the time they are not going to arrest you for that.
There is a Presumption of Guilt About the People Taking the Field Sobriety Tests
But in the cases that we get, we see over and over this is a high stress, high nerve situation where even individuals that I don’t believe were impaired often times perform poorly on field sobriety tests because it’s the middle of the night, you’ve been asked to get out of your car by the police officer, you’re nervous, they seem like they want to arrest you, they’ve already told you ‘you smell like alcohol’. Often times the person’s already admitted to having some drink for dinner, something of that nature. It feels like there’s a presumption of guilt on people that are trying to take these tests so in my opinion they are not a very fair way of evaluating the real intoxication of a person.
Police Officers May Miscommunicate the Instructions to Perform the Test
Interviewer: Do you ever feel that there is ever any miscommunication or some of the instructions get misinterpreted by police officers?
Zach Peagler: All the time. The police have this training but from officer to officer you don’t know how seriously they took their training, how much they remember and some police officers just go ahead and assume the person’s intoxicated and they want to get him off the road. And so they, a lot of times quickly or lazily go through these field sobriety tests just as a matter of course. They are not really trying to evaluate the person to see if they’re capable of driving safely or not.
There is Inherent Intimidation Involved in a Traffic Stop by the Police
Interviewer: Do you think that on the police officers part there is ever an intimidation factor they apply and that’s why people agree to do this?
Zach Peagler: Yes, I think there’s inherent intimidation in the fact that you have been stopped, your liberty is being restricted, they have a uniform on, their blue light flashing and the average citizen doesn’t understand all of their rights that pertain to a traffic stop and so most citizens probably think that they pretty much have to do whatever the police officer asks or tells them to do so I think there is absolutely an inherent intimidation in being pulled over.
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