The Real Truth Behind DUI Charges
Experience means everything. Make sure you have the correct and experienced representation for the legal issues you are faced with.
- By Attorney Richard Lombardi
A driving under the influence, alcohol or drugs is a very serious offense which can cost you your driver's license, jail time, alcholol rehabilitation and remains on your record for life.
In an ideal situation, I would prefer that my client's decline all tests, which include: breath, unine and physical coordination. You are required to take breath and urine tests and there can be consequences if you take them equally as bad.
There are no consequences or penalites if you refuse physical coordination tests and eye tests.
The physical coordination tests are:
1. A walk the line and turn test where you are asked to stand with left foot in front of right foot and stand like that with your hands at your side while the officer explains for 30 seconds to take nine steps forward on an imaginary line and do a little pivot movement (which nobody ever gets correct) and nine steps back with heel to toe and no space between, along with your arms at your sides. Oh and did I mention, you would be scared to death. And if you do it in snow or slush, with a 20mph wind and semi-tractor trailers flying by at 70mph; it's almost impossible to pass.
2. Next is stand on one leg, lift the other leg 6 inches, hands at sides and count to 30 by counting out loud one thousand one - one thousand two... I am NOT making this up. Who could do that?
3. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, commonly referred to as the eye test to measure involuntary jerking of the eye at various points by following a pen being moved across your eyes. This is subjective and hard for your attorney to see on video.
Consequently, I always advise to DECLINE ALL PHYSICAL COORDINATION TESTS.
You know what kind of shape you are in and one or two beers is usually not a problem. The officer stopping you, usually after dark sometimes will ask you out of the car after getting your license and insurance information. The officer will say something innocuous like "I just want to make sure your are safe to drive". Trust me, when this is said, the officer already decided to arrest you. When asked out of your car, ask the officer if you are under arrest and say that you prefer not to leave your car. You are not required to do these tests. DON'T EVER take physical coordination and eye test unless you are a 25 year old male who is extremely strong and in excellent shape, and even then I would NOT take the eye tests. If or when you are in doubt, NO TESTS! Your ability to do well on these tests depend on your age, sex, weight and physical coordination. If you are elderely, not in great physical condition or overweight, do not take any physical tests. You most likely will not do well.
The officer is required to read you a form if asking you to take blood, breath or unine tests which states if you refuse the test you will lose your license. But what the officer does not say is that if you do take these tests and fail, you will also lose your license.
The physical coordination tests are referred to as a Standardized Field Sobriety Test. This includes an eye test, which is very subjective and difficult for your lawyer to challenge because the video does not depict it with enough clarity to see what is happening.
If the officer notes no odor of alcohol but you appear to be under the inlfuence of drugs, he will request a urine test. Again, although you are supposed to take these tests and there are consequences in the form of license suspension, and depending on the previous numbers of DUI's you have, enhanced penalties, if you refuse to take the tests. There will also be a license suspension if you take the tests and test positive, but they will NEVER tell you that.
If you feel confident about not being under the influence , you may want to consider agreeing to take the portable breath test the officer has access to which would stop everything and get you released and on your way. This test is NOT admissible at trial. If you are polite and cooperative it can get you off the hook. Obviously it is not hard like the physical coordination tests although if you have COPD or lung issues it requires the ability to blow very hard.
If you have more than one DUI, you are likely an alcoholic and need to get help.
Short answer if I were stopped and had too much to drink or wasn't sure how I would react to the tests, I would decline all tests. Also remember, the enhanced penalties can be plea bargained just like any other criminal case by your attorney.
Think about it, how would a police officer prove you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs without these tests?
And just one more thing, the 100% positive way to pass any form of a DUI test is to DRIVE SOBER!
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