Hawaii is one of the top tourist destinations in the United States. Local officers are very aware that people on the islands are drinking a little more than usual and will make a DUI stop if they suspect someone has had too much to drink. As part of the stop, the officer will often ask the driver of the automobile to participate in field sobriety tests before issuing a DUI in Hawaii.
Should I Take Field Sobriety Tests in Hawaii?
There are two different types of tests you may be asked to take if you are stopped for a DUI. The first type of test is conducted in the field, known as field sobriety tests. The second type of test is conducted back at the station and is called a chemical test (breathalyzer or blood test). There is a significant difference in the two.
Field Sobriety tests are three tests (HGN, Walk and Turn, and One Leg Stand) conducted in the field at the time of the stop. These tests have been under scrutiny since inception and most attorneys would recommend refusing to take tests, which you can do.
Chemical tests are supposed to be performed at the station by a certified technician. Officers will sometimes ask an individual to take a breathalyzer in the field, but you are not required to take that test. If, however, you refuse the chemical tests at the station, you will be penalized. These tests fall under the implied consent law, which means refusing automatically results in penalties and fines (as well as a license suspension or revocation).
Why Are Hawaii Field Sobriety Tests so Hard to Pass?
These tests are designed to be as difficult as possible on someone that has been drinking. However, in the zealousness to create an effective test to weed out those under the influence, these tests are also difficult for sober individuals to pass. Some studies estimate more than 20 percent of sober individuals will fail some of these tests. This means one out of five sober drivers could find themselves being arrested for a DUI offense. There are numerous factors that can influence the outcome of these tests in Hawaii:
- Medical conditions such as vertigo
- Weather conditions
- Surface conditions
Hiring a Hawaii DUI Attorney after Failing Field Sobriety Tests
If you have failed field sobriety tests in Hawaii, you should contact a local attorney immediately. Your best chance of winning the case or having the charges reduced is in having a skilled attorney capable of arguing against these tests. Please fill out the Free DUI Arrest Review Form to the right of this page to get your case looked at by an expert local lawyer.
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.