Should I Submit to Field Sobriety Evaluations?
Finally, to answer the $1,000,000.00 question, should you take field sobriety evaluations if you have been stopped and asked to do so?
First, Field Sobriety Evaluations ARE VOLUNTARY. You are not required to take them; however, officers are not required to tell you that they are voluntary. Generally, in an investigative situation, an officer will just begin instructing you to do things but will not let you know your participation is not required unless you inquire.
Second, there is a lot of subjective interpretation involved in field sobriety evaluations. Most of what an officer observes on the side of the road cannot be seen on a video (if there is one). Therefore, as attorneys, we are left with the officers’ observations when assessing your case and what manifestations are exhibited on video.
Finally, field sobriety evaluations, overall, can be affected by external variables that have nothing to do with impairment. Unfortunately, it is very difficult for anyone to tell whether the “clues” exhibited on any of the tests (other than the HGN evaluation when performed properly) were caused by impairment or something unrelated altogether. Therefore, it is my opinion that field sobriety evaluations do nothing to help your cause. However, it is your decision and YOU are the only one encountering that decision at that time. It is like I always say, whatever decision you made at the time was the decision you made, we will deal with it as it stands. Honestly, it has been my experience on many occasions where field sobriety evaluations have helped me exonerate my client; however, remember every case is different as are peoples individual circumstances.
Whether you took fields or not there is always a chance. Give our office a call and let us help you.