If you have ever been on the road during a busy holiday weekend, you have more than likely seen at least one person on the side of the road performing field sobriety tests with a state trooper. Most drivers, incorrectly, assume that if stopped by an officer on the road and he or she asks to have these tests performed, that this is an actual requirement. You absolutely have the right of refusal for these tests before getting an Alabama DUI.
Implied Consent Does Not Refer to Field Sobriety Tests
Every state in the United States is an implied consent state. This causes some confusion in that drivers think this also applies to Alabama field sobriety tests. That is not the case. However, even with chemical tests, you can refuse to take them, but will face mandatory fines and a suspension or revocation (these terms can be found on your local DMV website).
For Alabama field sobriety tests, you can politely refuse the officer’s request. The downfall in doing so is the perception this gives if the case goes to trial. A jury and/or judge may perceive the reason you did not want to take these tests is that you felt as though you would fail them, giving visual proof of being intoxicated.
Problems with Field Sobriety Tests in Alabama
One of the main problems with these tests is that the results are subjective to the interpretation of the officer. Another problem is that the tests results may vary based on the conditions at the time of the testing. Finally, how the tests are administered can also be a problem. If the officers are not trained properly on the administration of these tests, as is often the case, the individual being stopped has virtually no chance of “passing” these tests.
Factors that Can Affect Negative Test Results
Several outside factors can come into play that may affect a field sobriety test in Alabama.
- Weather – imagine standing on the side of the road in a driving rainstorm and trying to touch your nose or walk a straight line. You could be dead sober and fail a test under these types of conditions.
- Condition of Road – this could be the physical condition of the road or the actual landscape. For instance, the road could have a severe uphill or downhill gradient. Keeping your balance could be a challenge regardless of how much you have or have not had to drink.
- Clothing – how easy is walking a straight line in high heels or flip-flops? The weather can also add to this, creating slick conditions making the test even more difficult.
Challenging Field Sobriety Test Results
Because field sobriety tests are unfair for numerous reasons as well as being subjective, you may want to hire a DUI attorney to fight the results of these tests if you did them during a DUI stop. Local attorneys have done an excellent job in scrutinizing these tests in recent years and are often able to have them completely dismissed from the case. If you need help with your DUI case, fill out the Free DUI Arrest form to get a free case evaluation.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.