Part Two: Field Sobriety Tests and the Portable Breath Test.
Part 2 of this 3 Part series focuses on Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST's) and the Portable Breath Test. What happens if the Officer asks me to exit the vehicle?
1. Exiting the Vehicle
Unhook your seat belt. Open your door slowly, and get out in one smooth motion. If you need some help getting out by using your door, be sure to push or pull, but don't lean. Officers look for that as a sign of bad balance. More often than not, officers already have enough evidence to arrest you for a DUI when they ask you to exit, so there is nothing you can do to avoid arrest by submitting to any tests on the street, but you should exit, so the officer does not have safety concerns. The officer may ask you again if you've had anything to drink. You're right to remain silent means you can politely say, "Officer Whether I was Drinking or Not, I don't wish to answer that question." & "If you feel I'm impaired, I'll be happy to go with you down to the station." But "If not, I'd like to leave now."
2. Officer: "Will you take some tests to see if you're okay to Drive?"
See the answer to Step 1. All the tests on the street are voluntary, and no law requires you to submit to this circus show. Some officers will try to intimidate you by saying if you don't take these, I'll have to assume you're impaired and arrest you. You can't change that, so don't submit, at the risk of giving evidence against yourself. These tests include the HGN, VGN, One-Leg-Stand, and Walk and Turn.
3. HGN (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus) Test
The HGN test inolves following the officers lighted pen side to side, slowly. During that time, the officer looks for an involuntary stutter in your eye at different angles called a nystagmus. The stutter reveals the presence of alcohol. This test is voluntary, and you should say politely that you DO NOT WISH TO TAKE THE TEST.
4. VGN (Vertical Gaze Nystagmus) Test
The VGN test inolves following the officers lighted pen up and down, slowly. During that time, the officer looks for an involuntary stutter in your eye at different angles called a vertical nystagmus. This stutter reveals a high level of impairment. This test is voluntary, and you should say politely that you DO NOT WISH TO TAKE THE TEST.
5. One Leg Stand & Walk 'n' Turn
Don't take these tests (they are voluntary). Usually the officer will rush you into taking this test by immediately going into instructions for the test. The One Leg Stand will very likely make you fall forward, and the Walk and Turn will make you fall to the side, so don't waist any time doing these tests. I've seen acrobats still get arrested after taking these tests.
6. PBT (Portable Breath Test)
Most officers will carry with them a portable device that measures Breath Alcohol Content. This device is not accepted or reliable science, and will not be used in a trial, but can be used to arrest you, so don't blow into it. There is no law that requires you to do so, it's only the machine at the station that counts. And when you get down there, you should ask to speak to an attorney.
- Commercial Truck Drivers
- Young Drivers
- Habitual Traffic Offenders