Driving under the influence is not a sensible thing to do and in all states
is against the law. This doesn't mean you have to be intimidated if
stopped by a police officer and you are asked to take field sobriety tests.
The police officer is expected to respect your rights and is not permitted
to use any undue force, either verbally or physically, in order to get
you to waive your rights.
A police officer who apprehends you for suspicion of DUI has to ask you
to voluntarily undertake standardized field sobriety tests. If the tests
lead to probable cause, this will give the officer the right to make an
arrest for DUI. Handcuffing a suspect, loading him or her into a police
vehicle and then conducting tests at some other location are a violation
of a person's rights because they make the standardized field sobriety
tests involuntary. Typically in this situation, any evidence gained from
such tests cannot be used to either get a confession or a conviction.
The officer has to follow the correct procedure before a defendant can
be formally charged with DUI.
A case study in Florida of "Involuntary Field Sobriety Tests."
There was a recent Florida court case where it was found that a trooper
had wrongfully arrested a suspect for DUI on the basis of the smell of
alcohol and erratic swaying movements by the defendant.
State v. Garcia, 21 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 1007a (2014). At the time of arrest the fact
that the road was wet meant that the driver's alleged actions could
have been as a result of slippery underfoot conditions - not alcohol intoxication.
The court studied the circumstances of the arrest and established that
the driver had been forcibly handcuffed and taken to another location
with no acceptable explanation. The intention was to conduct sobriety
tests elsewhere without the driver's permission. No
probable cause was offered for arresting the driver for DUI before the field sobriety
tests had been completed. The trooper's reasons for moving the driver
were not sufficient, as despite the weather conditions there was no danger
in the area where the incident took place and it was well lit. This type
of arrest is called a 'de facto arrest' and in the opinion of
the court the trooper had no grounds for performing such an arrest.
Why an experienced DUI lawyer is needed
As a result of this investigation and due to the violation of the defendant's
rights, no conviction took place. If you have been arrested and charged
with DUI you cannot expect the Court to fully understand your situation
unless you have hired an experienced defense lawyer to represent you,
such as Tampa DUI Defense Attorney Jackson Hilliard. Often, the judge
and jury will accept the facts presented before them without argument
if there is no defense lawyer present to defend your rights. Courts rarely
listen to a defendant who has no legal representation. It is your right
to be legally represented that is part of our legal system and it helps
to ensure that no wrongful convictions take place. If you have any questions
about your rights after a DUI, please call DUI attorney Jackson Hilliard
at (855) DUI-JACK or visit us on the web at www.duijack.com.