Why You Should Refuse the Standard Field Sobriety Test (SFST)
June 14, 2018
Did you know that you’re giving your local police extra evidence to build up a case against you, while in court, when you choose to take the sobriety test (SFST)? That moment when you see the blue lights in your rearview mirror and you see the officer in your window…when your heart begins to beat because you know you only had a few drinks! If he asks if you have been drinking, what do you say in THAT MOMENT?
Before responding to the officer when he asks you how many drinks you had or after he asks you to do the sobriety test, have you ever thought about how you could easily fail because you may have some type of disability to walk? What about previous injuries that effect your balance at the time? Multiple individuals have knee, ankle, or hip problems from past activities, all which are body parts that depend on balance. These factors come into consideration with the sobriety test because if you do not have good balance at the moment, you fail the test.
Imagine being in the heat of the moment after being asked to step out of your car by the officer. You’re nervous, your palms are sweating, and your mind is racing at 100 mph because you don’t know what to do. You’ve never been in this scenario before. If you have, you don’t want to this situation again. In the midst of this high-pressured situation, you are being heavily questioned, and given multiple instructions.
At this point, you are bound to mess up on something, whether you have had a few drinks or if did not have any drinks previously. There is no possible way that you can perfectly function in this scenario, thus you have a state of confusion. Because of the hesitation that you may have when responding to certain questions, or maybe you may respond to the questions in a funny way because you are nervous, you may appear to be impaired because officers are trained to ask you to do things that require “divided attention”.
When outside of the car, you may be asked to stand on one leg, also known as the “one leg stand field sobriety test”. These types of tests aren't designed for people who are at least overweight by at least 50 pounds. You're not going to be able to properly balance yourself. This is more evidence that can be compiled against you if you’re issued a ticket.
So what do you do in case you’re presented with the scenario of taking the sobriety test? The answer to this is easy. REFUSE IT.
It may be hard to hear, but you must understand that there is not a law making you take the test. Whether you have been drinking or not, you’re not given this test because someone thinks that you’re going to pass.
If you are given a citation by the police officer, there are 3 things you need to do as soon as possible:
1. Contact an attorney within 15 days.
If you blew in the breathalyzer, and do not contact an attorney within the 15-day window, your license will be suspended.
If you simply refused the test, you have up to 30 days to contact an attorney. You want to do this so that a court hearing can be issued. Many make the mistake of waiting after 30 days, thinking that they will be contacted. This will not happen, as you will not be contacted, and you will only find yourself having lost your ability to drive. An attorney promptly advises you of what you should do to prevent this.
2. Be prompt and make phone calls quickly.
Do not just look for a court date. Administrative hearings and refusal hearing are separate from the traffic violations. Just as mentioned in the point previously, you have a limited duration of time to contact your attorney so that your attorney can take swift action.
The mistake many make is waiting at the last minute to take the proper action. This in return leaves it up to chance for you to miss deadlines, and unintended consequences, all which could have been avoided.
3. Make sure you maintain proper contact.
If you change your phone number please let your attorney know as soon as possible. If you changed your address, please let your attorney know. These may sound like simple things, however there can be times where a court date changes and the attorney needs to advise you immediately about circumstances of your case.
If an attorney is not able to get ahold of you when you’re needed, you risk the chance of missing critical deadlines. This is easily preventable. Do everything in your power to make yourself readily available so that your attorney can contact you when needed upon.
Being issued a ticket for DUI and the police being able to prove a DUI are two different things. Do not assume because you were written a DUI that you are guilty. It is up to the prosecutor to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. An attorney trained in representing clients in dui will know what to look for and any mistakes that were made by the officer.
If you have received a ticket or traffic citation in Kansas City or the greater metropolitan area call Missouri attorney Traci Fann for your traffic attorney or Missouri dui attorney. Traci Fann at The Law Office of Traci Fann, LLC can help with all matters when it comes to traffic citations. Call at 816-678-1809.