Probable cause to stop a vehicle can be obtained from simple acts such as erratic driving, strange odors wafting from the vehicle, and other conduct that might be associated with illegal conduct. However, a police officer’s subjective opinion concerning field sobriety exercises may not be accurate. If one has been accused of a DUI, one should obtain an experienced attorney to fight the case and ensure one’s rights are protected.
According to UPI.com, Dustan Carpenter of Auburndale, was arrested for a DUI after refusing to take a sobriety exercise because he had seen the exercise proven unreliable by the TV series “MythBusters.” Carpenter was pulled over around 11 p.m. for driving without his headlights on and told the deputy, who noted the suspect smelled of alcohol and was slurring his speech, he had consumed one beer at Applebee’s before driving.
Field Sobriety Exercises are physical agility exercises that are subjective in nature. One’s passing or failing a field sobriety exercise in Jacksonville is based almost entirely on what the officer’s opinion of one’s conduct, which may not be a correct observation of an impaired driver.
There are many different ways in which an officer may administer a field sobriety test. Some of these tests may include:
Standing on One Leg: The accused is instructed to stand with heels together, arms at the side, then raise one leg six inches off the ground while counting out loud until the officer tells the accused to stop. The officer is looking for raising of arms, swaying, hopping, putting one’s foot down, inability to stand still, body tremors, muscle tension, and any statements made by the accused during the test.
Walk and Turn: The subject takes nine heel-to-toe steps along a line, turns, and takes nine heel-to-toe steps back. The officer is looking to see if the accused can keep their balance, follow instructions, begins early, stops during the test, leaves space between heel and toe, steps off the line, or loses balance while turning.
Nystagmus: The officer involved in the DUI stop will position an object such as a highlighter or pen close to the driver’s face, moving the object from side to side while watching the individual’s eyes. Through this, the officer may determine whether the individual is drunk based on involuntary jerking or trembling of the eyeball. The jerking or trembling may be a sign of the driver being impaired.
The Rhomberg Balance Test: The accused assumes a position of attention, closes their eyes, tilts their head back, and estimates 30 seconds. The officer is looking for the inability to stand still or steady, body or eyelid tremors, opening eyes to maintain balance, swaying (either front to back or side to side), muscle tension, or statements made by the accused. The officer is also testing the suspect’s internal clock, which will usually be slow in the case of alcohol, or fast in the case of stimulants.
Finger to nose: This test requires the accused to place their feet together while standing straight with their eyes closed, bringing their index finger to their nose as ordered by the officer. The officer is looking for body sway, body tremors, eyelid tremors, muscle tension, or any statements made by the accused to support a finding of intoxication.
These are supposedly tests that are designed to check “divided attention”, a critical skill in operating a motor vehicle. However, there are many people who, for many different reasons, cannot perform these tests to the officer’s satisfaction, and pay the price with a DUI arrest.
Nobody plans to get a DUI. Most people are just trying to get home. The best advice any lawyer can give is to not drive after you have consumed any alcohol. Find another way to get home or stay off the roads. One’s best advice is to never drive when one has consumed alcohol.
The only logical choice in this situation is to fight. One needs a knowledgeable and experienced Jacksonville DUI defense attorney to fight the case and ensure one’s rights are protected. Do not allow a DUI charge to ruin a bright future, away from the troubles of the legal system.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and is here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one requires a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyercontact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Additional Sources: Man cites TV show in sobriety test refusal, UPI.com