Law Office of Christopher A. Connelly
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What do you say when asked to do DWI Field Sobriety Tests?

You are stopped by an officer at a DWI checkpoint or after a minor traffic offense. The officer asked you if you have been drinking, where you are coming from, where you are going.  While the DWI officer may have some interest   in your activities, an additional purpose in asking these questions is to determine if your speech is slurred.  

Then the officer asks you to do his DWI Field Sobriety Tests.  The Walk & Turn, One Leg Stand and Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus are typical, but not exclusive, DWI tests.  What do you say? 

Well, you don't curse at him, you don't tell him that you are too drunk to do them or that you can't do them sober.  None of these answers work and only serve to dig your hole deeper.

How you DO respond is by saying, politely and firmly, "I am not required to do these tests under the law and I am declining to do so."  

The law DOES hold that you have given "Implied Consent" to take a chemical test of your blood or breath (which you must take or risk the suspension of your license).  However, the law DOES NOT require you to take the Field Sobriety Tests.  

I recently had a client, very poised under pressure, who said just that when asked.  I believe that the judge found them Not Guilty (in part) due to her polite refusal of the DWI Field Sobriety Tests.  I was able to argue that her accurate belief as to what her rights were was an indication that she was in fact NOT impaired.   

If you have any physical or medical maladies, you may also want to add that in, such as a concussion, leg problems, head injuries etc.  

DON'T fall for the old line of "I just want to see if you are ok to drive" (they have already decided that you are not).  Or that "if you can walk up a flight of stairs, you will be fine".

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Law Office of Christopher A. Connelly
101 North McDowell Street, Suite 104
Charlotte, NC 28204

Phone: 704-376-9376
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