When you have been pulled over by a highway patrol officer, it is important
to realize that they are first acting on
suspicion only. They do not know if you are actually
driving under the influence (DUI) or not, and they will need to figure that out. How can they do this?
Field sobriety and breath – or breathalyzer – tests conducted
right at the curb, of course.
Field sobriety tests (FST) typically involve
standing on one foot,
walking a straight line, or
following a bright flashlight with your pupils. They sound pretty simple so they should be pretty easy to pass, right?
Wrong. There are so many components that make FSTs unreliable. First of
all, your nerves or the condition of the roadway could make a one-foot
balancing act difficult. Secondly, what about gauging someone’s
ability to touch their nose is scientific? The officer needs to use their
discretion to determine if you are sober or not, and even the best law
enforcer can have major lapses in judgement.
Electronic breathalyzer tests are not much better. They are supposed to
accurately display your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level by measuring
the number of minute particles of ethanol in a puff of your breath, but
precise calibration is required for an instrument so sensitive. Even a
mundane problem like low battery power can make the device report a false
reading that is above the limit. Consider this as well: if you belch just
before using a breathalyzer, the device is sure to grab way more alcohol
particulates than there actually are in your breath and blood.
The Right to Refuse
What most people do not know is that you do have the right to refuse taking
a field sobriety test, which includes a roadside breathalyzer test, without
immediate consequences. You can tell the arresting officer that you do
not trust in the reliability of such tests and would like to use your
right to refuse taking them. At that point, they may inform you that you
will have to take a
chemical test back at the station. 9 out of 10 times, you
will want to submit to chemical testing, as refusal will automatically revoke
What if the chemical test says your BAC is over the limit, though? Not
to worry! At the Law Offices of Mitch Furman, our Chicago DUI attorney
is here to protect you. With our years of experience in handling all sorts
of DUI and
criminal defense cases, we have learned numerous ways that can show that even blood, breath,
and urine testing can be unreliable, and therefore successfully challenged
in court. Call
312.651.4206 today for more information about our legal services.