Michigan OWI Field Sobriety Testing

If you were recently arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) in Michigan, you probably had to complete a series of Michigan OWI field sobriety tests. Although they may seem silly at first, these tests are no laughing matter, as the results can be used as evidence against you during your OWI trial. As a result, you should review the results of your field sobriety test with an experienced defense attorney before your day in court.

Purpose of Field Sobriety Tests

Police officers often use field sobriety tests to determine a person’s level of intoxication. You may be asked to perform simple exercises such as balancing on one leg or walking an imaginary line, and then turning in the opposite direction. In some cases, the officer may even ask you to recite the alphabet or complete basic math problems.

The officer may also administer an additional field sobriety test known as the horizontal gaze nystagmus. For this evaluation, the officer will ask you to follow an object, such as a pen or finger, with your eyes. He or she watch closely to see if you can easily follow the object’s movement.

After completing the field sobriety tests, the police officer will evaluate your performance to determine whether you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If he or she believes you are intoxicated, you will be arrested and charged with OWI.

Sobriety Test Refusal

Contrary to what you may have heard, you are not legally required to comply with an officer’s request to administer a field sobriety test. In fact, due to the subjective nature of the results, you should politely refuse any type of field sobriety test.

Although many studies have proven that field sobriety tests are extremely unreliable, they are still frequently used to determine a person’s level of intoxication. In many cases, however, the results of these tests are inadmissible in court, as the officer may be unable to prove reasonable cause for the arrest.

Contacting a OWI Lawyer

If you were charged with OWI after completing a field sobriety test, you may assume you will be convicted. Luckily, nothing could be further from the truth. An experienced attorney may be able to prove your field sobriety test results are inaccurate, and in turn, prevent them from being used against you in court.

Attorney Patrick T. Barone knows the ins and outs of Michigan OWI law, and can use his knowledge to determine the best defense for your case. As a certified field sobriety test instructor, Mr. Barone has received the same training as Michigan police officers and, as a result, is highly familiar with the tactics they use. Put his experience and legal know-how to work for you. Contact the Barone Defense Firm for a free consultation on your case.