Police officers making traffic stops have many tools at their disposal to build DUI cases against drivers. Some of the most common are field sobriety tests meant to demonstrate a person’s intoxication. While these tests and their results are not scientific, they can form the basis for a DUI arrest and subsequent prosecution.
Even so, field sobriety tests in Phoenix DUI cases and their results are not definitive proof of guilt. A seasoned attorney could point out flaws in these tests and work to discredit their results at trial. At the same time, motorists need to know why officers may request these tests and understand their right to refuse to participate. With Grand Canyon Law Group on your side, you can fight against aggressive police tactics concerning DUI enforcement.
Police officers’ primary job is to collect evidence about supposed illegal activity. In DUI cases, they make traffic stops and investigate the apparently intoxicated state of drivers.
Drivers give their implied consent to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test to determine their blood alcohol level. However, they are not legally required to submit to any other kind of test or investigation. Everyone has the right to avoid self-incrimination concerning criminal allegations. This means drivers have every right to refuse to participate in a field sobriety test.
These tests are an officer’s attempt to obtain further evidence of intoxication. It is usually best for drivers to politely but firmly decline to participate. Once officers make a stop and request that a driver participates in field sobriety tests, they may have already decided to arrest that person. Participation in these tests can only hurt a future defense, as our Phoenix DUI attorneys can attest.
Prosecutors pursuing DUI convictions in Phoenix under Arizona Revised Statute § 28-1381 must show that a driver was operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. One way to accomplish this is to call a police officer as a witness who can speak to a driver’s physical condition after a traffic stop.
The outcome of field sobriety tests is a major source of evidence during this testimony. However, this evidence is not infallible, as many field sobriety tests are flawed. For example, a driver may not be able to perform coordinated movements at the best of times—requesting them to do so in a stressful situation such as a traffic stop is unrealistic. These tests are also non-scientific in nature, and an officer’s conclusions as to their results may differ from those of jurors.
Our skilled local attorneys can cross-examine a police officer at trial who attempts to enter the results of a field sobriety test into evidence. We will challenge the justification for a traffic stop, question the specific tests used to determine a defendant’s intoxicated state, and raise doubts concerning the usefulness of these tests.
Many people believe that the outcomes of field sobriety tests are definitive proof of intoxication during DUI cases. However, this is far from the truth. Police officers performing these tests may make mistakes or misinterpret the results. This makes them vulnerable to cross-examination at trial.
At the same time, drivers have the right to refuse to participate in field sobriety tests in Phoenix DUI cases. Reach out to Grand Canyon Law Group today to learn how to protect yourself against field sobriety tests during traffic stops and in court. We believe you have a way of life worth saving and are prepared to fight for you.