When police officers pull people over on suspicion of a DUI, they often request that the individual take a series of field sobriety tests. These tests are supposed to show whether someone is impaired or not and often works as the basis for a DUI arrest. However, many people do not realize that Fredericksburg field sobriety test refusal is an option. If you want to know more about field sobriety test refusal and your rights at a DUI stop, speak with a skilled DUI lawyer that could help.
The weight given to field sobriety tests will depend on the circumstances of that particular case. When the court is examining evidence of a breathalyzer test or a blood test that shows that an individual was clearly intoxicated according to the law, then how that individual performed in a field sobriety test is irrelevant because the court has clear evidence that that individual was intoxicated. However, in cases that may be more ambiguous, Fredericksburg field sobriety test refusal can sometimes detract from a person’s case. For example, if an individual’s breathalyzer results are on the lower end but there is no field sobriety test to corroborate the lack of impairment, that could make things worse.
In a closer case, the only evidence the court may be able to consider would be a field test. In a case in which someone refuses to take a breath test, the only evidence the court will have to consider is the field sobriety test. In that case, the court will be looking at the test for whether or not the officer had probable cause for an arrest. If they do believe the officer had probable cause for an arrest, then they will look to whether or not the field sobriety tests are actually evidence of intoxication. The normal purpose of those tests is to develop probable cause, not to develop proof beyond a reasonable about. When those tests have been completed and an officer is convinced that someone is intoxicated but they do not have any further testing, then those tests that were supposed to only show probable cause will be relied on to show proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Though sometimes a court would like to put more weight on these tests than it should, the tests were designed to indicate probable cause for an arrest and not proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
When a person applies for a Virginia driver’s license, they agree to take a breathalyzer test if there is probable cause for their arrest. No one gives implied consent to take a field sobriety test.
A person does not have to perform a field sobriety test and Fredericksburg field sobriety test refusal is completely acceptable. Agreeing to sobriety tests is an optional thing that most people choose to do because either they feel like they have to do it and are mistaken or they think that by taking the test, they are going to prove to the officer that they are not intoxicated. Both of those are wrong. A person has the right not to answer questions they do not want to answer. A person has the right not to incriminate themselves.
A person cannot be forced by the government to stand outside of their car and perform field sobriety tests just so that they can gather evidence against the person. Furthermore, taking the test is not going to convince an officer, except in very rare cases, that someone is not intoxicated, especially if that person has consumed alcohol.
Someone who has not consumed any alcohol may be better off taking the test to show the officer that they are not intoxicated, but that individual needs to consider the police officer’s reason for asking to do the test. The police officer’s job in observing those tests is not to determine whether someone should be charged. It is not finding out the truth of the matter. Rather, it is to gather evidence against the person so they can try to convict that person of a crime and put them in jail. If an individual wants to know more about Fredericksburg field sobriety test refusal, they should speak with a knowledgeable DUI lawyer that could answer their questions.
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