Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Can You Say No to Field Sobriety Tests?

The North Carolina Law Enforcement Division is bent on curtailing drunk driving incidents. For this reason, the state has implemented DWI checkpoints or roadblocks which give police officers the right to stop cars, regardless of whether there is any suspicion of drunk driving.

At these checkpoints, police officers are allowed to field questions to drivers, especially if they were driving erratically or driving with an expired license plate. If law enforcement officials see any sign of intoxication, such as slurred speech or red eyes, they then have the right to ask drivers to submit to field sobriety tests.

This is where the situation gets tricky, and not all drivers are aware they have the legal right to refuse these tests. However, even when that’s the case, drivers are advised to offer a polite refusal since anything beyond that may be misconstrued by the police officers. In the event the case escalates and drivers are charged with DWI, they should always consider the possibility that even the slightest hint of threat or anger in their refusal to give in to the tests could be taken against them.

However, those charged with DWI can depend on an experienced lawyer to protect their rights. A lawyer can gather evidence like testimonies from witnesses to prove that drivers were not legally under the influence, or that they were arrested unlawfully. 

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