Mississippi Field Sobriety Test


06.30.2017 IN: DUI Defense
If Asked to Take a Field Sobriety Test, What Do I Do?

Joey: You have a couple of options. You’re not required to do a field sobriety test and that isn’t the test they are looking at for a refusal charge. If you refuse the big Intoxilyzer machine at the police station, they can do a refusal charge

My advice is don’t do a field sobriety test because they’re designed for people to fail and are very confusing. I’ve had an officer perform one on me as I wanted to know what my clients were going through. I failed the field sobriety test and I was sober as a preacher and I’m a DUI Lawyer Richland MS. I always tell clients do not perform a field sobriety test. It just gives them ammunition and it almost never helps my clients.

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Let’s say I have agreed to it and they ask me to follow an object with my eyes. What are they looking for?

Joey: The test they’re performing is the horizontal gaze nystagmus. They’re looking for wiggling of the eyes and that’s a simple way to put it. If somebody’s on depressants, there can be an involuntary eye movement which doesn’t necessarily mean alcohol’s involved. But alcohol is a depressant.

Some officers will use just their finger. That’s getting into more drug related impairment as opposed to alcohol. Those officers have to have certain qualifications for those tests to be valid.

What happens if I refuse to take the test?

Joey: Most likely they will have you stand outside, either at the front or rear of your vehicle, or by the patrol car. They’ll offer you that test multiple times. Normally an officer won’t offer once and then throw you in the back of the patrol car. They have to prove impairment beyond a reasonable doubt and the field sobriety test is a tool.

Officers carry around portable breathalyzers in the back of their patrol cars; rattling around with the tire in the back. If you refuse, there are no penalties. However you’ll likely be taken to jail. At the jail, you’ll be given the option to blow in an Intoxilyzer. Until you refuse to blow in an Intoxilyzer, you will not be charged with a DUI refusal. If you are charged with a DUI refusal, then you would have very good grounds to file a petition for breath test refusal hearing.

If they take me to jail, is there any way can I refuse the test there?

Joey: You can refuse every test offered to you, but as I mentioned, that brings up an entirely separate charge of DUI refusal, which results in an automatic suspension of your license for 90 days. The process is, the Department of Public Safety will mail you a letter to the address on your license and that’s key because a lot of people move and forget to update their license. You have 10 days to file the petition I mentioned with the County Court in your area, or the circuit court depending on the county and set that before a judge to determine whether or not a breath test refusal ever occurred. If the officer never offered it to you at the station, that’s the one that counts, and no refusal occurred.

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Let’s say I didn’t get my Miranda Rights read to me, can my case be dismissed?

Joey: As a DUI Lawyer Rankin County MS. I’m asked often and I’m glad you asked. Miranda Rights are read to an individual when they are placed under arrest and at that point you are informed you have the right to an attorney and you have the right to remain silent. Dismissal of your case is not the remedy for failure of an officer to read you your Miranda Rights. The remedy for not reading someone their Miranda Rights is, anything the individual says in custody cannot be used against them in a court of law. If the officer doesn’t read you you’re Miranda Rights and they book you and take you to the jail and you say, “I was drunker than Cooter Brown”, well, that’s probably going to be excluded from testimony at court.

Call Attorney Joey Franks for a free consultation at (601) 283-2343

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