If stopped by the police on suspicion of drunk driving, you may be asked to perform ‘standardized field sobriety tests' to determine if you are intoxicated.
These are:• the one-leg stand
The first two are self-explanatory, and the third is one you may have seen on television crime shows: the officer waves a penlight across the driver's field of vision. He has been trained to look for certain movement in the eyes at a 45-degree angle that indicates intoxication.
These simple tests are only to give an officer just cause – called ‘probable cause' – to arrest the driver on suspicion of DUI. On average, these tests range from 65-80 percent reliable in establishing that a driver is in fact under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
When you received your driver's license, your signature on forms provides that you will cooperate with the police in performing these tests and producing documentation. Blood-alcohol content (BAC) tests (blood, urine, and breath tests) and standardized field sobriety tests fall under ‘implied consent laws.' Implied consent laws include:• Producing a driver's license and proof of insurance when asked
While it is legal for you to politely refuse to take sobriety tests or blood, urine, or breath tests, refusal carries a likely penalty of a loss of the driver's license for up to one year. Upon refusal, y our license goes into ‘administrative suspension' for seven days. This suspension must be contested in court where you were arrested. You can apply for a restricted license in order to go to school or work. This administrative license suspension is in addition to any penalties if you are convicted of driving under the influence.
This is why your first call should be to Michael C. Tillotson, a criminal defense attorney experienced in Virginia DUI laws. He will argue vigorously against implied consent laws on your behalf. His position is that it is necessary for an adult to have a driver's license in order to lead a normal, productive life, and therefore it is unreasonable to put such restrictions in the paperwork that one must sign in order to be granted a driver's license. Also, it is against your fifth amendment constitutional rights to force you to be a witness against yourself, which is essentially what you are doing if you are intoxicated and submit to any BAC tests.
If you are stopped by police officers and they read you the implied consent notice and request that you take a test to determine your BAC, Michael Tillotson suggests you do not do so if you are in fact intoxicated. Make that call to your attorney to defend your rights.