Question: I was driving on Ashford Dunwoody Road when I was stopped by a Dunwoody police officer for speeding. The cop seemed nice so, when he asked, I told him that I had three mixed drinks over about four hours when I was at dinner with my wife.
I said I drank some Scotch with water, just like I always do with dinner. The cop must have thought that I was drunk so he asked me to get out of the car for some tests that he called field sobriety tests. He said the tests would let him know if I was intoxicated or not.
So I took the tests that he wanted me to do. I thought I passed them because I didn't make any major mistakes, although I did almost lose my balance twice. I have a bad back from the Army and from wrestling in high school so although I couldn't do them perfectly, I thought I did fine and passed.
After I took the tests the cop asked me to take a blow test; I said yes and then he gave me the breath test but he didn't tell me how I did. Then, all of a sudden, he put handcuffs on me and arrested me for DUI.
Now I'm wondering if I should have taken the field sobriety tests. I took them but maybe I shouldn't have. Is it a good idea to take the field sobriety tests? I have never had a drunk driving charge before and I have a great driving record, except for a couple of tickets.
B.L. Dunwoody, Georgia
Answer: You should usually decline to take the field sobriety tests. They are unscientific, often incorrectly administered and merely provide evidence to prosecute you for DUI. That is especially true, as in your case, where there is an injury that can impact your performance on the tests.
Many people suffer from injuries or conditions that make the tests unreliable. Indeed, many people have chronic neck, leg or back problems. Other people have eye-related issues like nystagmus.
The tests are graded using “clues” that the officer identifies while a suspect is performing the tests. The more clues found, the higher the likelihood that the person is intoxicated, according to the official test protocol.
Call us when you get arrested for DUI. We can answer your questions. Our phone number is 678-215-4106.
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