Field Sobriety Test
Most of the DUI investigations in the state of Washington are triggered when a police officer pulls over a vehicle after noticing that the Washington Vehicle Code has been violated or if some weird driving pattern attracted the officer’s attention. Typically, the officer is going to approach the car, contact the driver inside and will explain why the vehicle was pulled over to begin with.
During this very first contact with the driver the vast majority of DUI investigations start. The law enforcement officer may be able to smell the alcohol that emits from the driver’s car. He may also notice that the speech of the driver is genuinely slurred or he may notice that the driver cannot process even the simplest questions. Long story short, the police officer may witness some symptoms or signs of intoxication and this will make the officer ask the driver to get out of the vehicle and submit him or herself to further DUI investigations.
Despite the fact that the drivers are required to identify themselves and to follow the lawful orders of the law enforcement officers, they are not required to aid the police officers in gathering the evidence. Even though it is recommended for the driver to exit the car, it is not necessary for the driver to take any part in the field sobriety tests.
The main issue with the field sobriety tests is the fact that one’s performance in these tests may well be adversely affected by a large variety of factors that will have little to nothing to do with alcohol or drug intoxication. Hence, the overall performance in the field sobriety tests could really be affected by any of the following factors:
- How old the test subject really is.
- The stamina or physical condition of the test subject. Previous traumas, surgeries that were performed not that long ago, inner ear issues, weight related problems, scoliosis, diabetes and so on. The list of various physical as well as medical issues, which could resemble the effect of impairment is pretty much limitless. Anything that makes a driver look as though he or she is intoxicated could be easily mistake as intoxication by the law enforcement officer.
- Weather conditions during the time of test.
- Problems related to clothes or the type of footwear.
- Being distracted by the passing cars, police radio, any other law enforcement officers, barking dogs, curious friends, passengers and so on. Once more, the additional sources of distraction may have an impact on how the police officer is instructing the tests or the way the subject is performing in those tests.
- Not being able to interpret the police officer’s instructions.
- Being anxious or frustrated.
Should you make a decision to participate in the FSTs, it is very important and crucial even for you to listen to all the instructions that the officer will give you and to perform the tests precisely how it was instructed as well as demonstrated. Some simple actions, such as the position of your feet or hands may be deemed by the officer as some critical scrutiny. If you need more information about Washington field sobriety tests, pleas call our law offices at (855) 858-0853 or email us using contact form.