If you have recently been arrested for drinking and driving in Grand Rapids, chances are you were asked to perform a series of field sobriety tests. Police officers use these tests to determine if you are impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. If you failed the Michigan field sobriety tests and were charged with driving under the influence (DUI), speak with an experienced Grand Rapids DUI defense lawyer right away.
There are three Michigan field sobriety tests that may be administered: the walk-and-turn test, one-leg stand test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus. The officer may also ask you to recite the alphabet or solve simple math problems. What many people don’t realize about field sobriety tests is that, unlike a breath test, they are completely voluntary.
Michigan field sobriety tests are extremely hard to pass because they are subjective. In most cases, when an officer pulls you over on suspicion of DUI, he or she already believes that you are guilty. Even if you mess up on one part (i.e., you are unable to keep your balance), the officer can testify that you failed the test. When asked to perform a field sobriety test, politely say no.
With the right DUI defense lawyer on your side, Michigan field sobriety tests can be challenged. Michigan law does not require the officer to administer a field sobriety test before every DUI arrest. Therefore, if the officer administers the test but does not follow the proper guidelines, your lawyer may argue that the drunk-driving arrest was invalid.
During your DUI case, the arresting officer must prove that he or she was well trained and competent enough to administer your field sobriety tests—if he or she cannot prove this, your attorney can attempt to have the results made inadmissible in court. If these test results are thrown out, it may mean that there was not enough probable cause to arrest you for DUI. Even if the results don’t get thrown out, during the trial your attorney can question the officer’s lack of experience in administering and grading the test results.