In Washington State, does an officer have to read you your miranda warning before asking you to perform field sobriety tests.

Asked over 3 years ago - Longview, WA

I had been asked to leave me car, in a drive-thru, not allowed to move it or retrieve my identification, or wallet. I assumed that I was not free, etc.

Attorney answers (7)

  1. William Karl Kirk

    Contributor Level 6

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Unfortunatley, the answer is usually no. FSTs are non-testimonial in nature and therefore, not protected by Miranda. There is a case directly on point: Heinemann v. Whitman County. However, if there has been a more enhanced restriction of movement, other than what's usually associated with a traffic stop, you may be able to argue a "constructive arrest." But that argument would be very fact specific.

  2. Sharon Elizabeth Chirichillo

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . An officer does NOT have to read the Mianda warnings before having to do the FSTs. The Courts have ruled that since the FSTs are not verbal, not testimonial then the FSTs are Not required. Amazing isn't it? Further an Officer is REQUIRED to inform the person suspected of a DUI investigation that the FSTs are VOLUNTARY. The FSTs include the following: Horizontal Gaze Nistagmus- eye test to see if the eyes have a jerkiness pattern; The Walk & Turn; The One Leg Stand; in addition there is a Portable Preliminary Breath Test that is also Voluntary. Unlike the official Breath Test taken at the police station,a serious consequence occurs if the accused asserts the right to decline will carry at least one year drivers license revocation.

  3. Travis S Jones

    Contributor Level 14

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . the short answer is no. Field sobriety tests are non-testimonial and so are not covered by the Miranda warnings.

  4. William Karl Kirk

    Contributor Level 6

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Unfortunately, the answer is usually "NO." FSTs are non-testimonial in nature and therefore not subject to the protections of Miranda. There is case directly on point called Heinemann v. Whitman County. However, if your freedom of movement, has been curtailed to that associated with a formal arrest, you may be able to argue and "constructive arrest." However that would require very specific and favorable facts.

  5. Billie Renee Morelli

    Contributor Level 12

    Answered . As usual - it depends. An individual is entitled to hear their Miranda warnings IF they are about to be "interrogated" "in custody." Otherwise, no warnings are necessary. Not being free to leave does not necessarily mean you were "in custody" (doesn't make sense, I know, but that is the law). In general, an officer can stop anyone if there is "reasonable suspicion" that an infraction or crime has occurred. An officer cannot arrest you unless there is "probable cause." So in DUI cases often times there was "reasonable suspicion" (per the officer's version) to stop you and not allow you to leave until through investigating, but no "probable cause" until the individual gives it to them - ie, through field sobriety tests.

    DUI law has a lot of ins and outs and is a highly technical area of criminal defense. You need a lawyer. Take care.

  6. Mark R Stephens

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . Washington does not have the option of a urine test. Bill Kirk is one of the finest DUI defense lawyers I've seen. He's also licensed to practice law in Washington. When out of state lawyers give misleading answers on this site, it makes our jobs more difficult.

  7. Andrew Stephen Roberts

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . This is a great question. Technically since you are not free the officers are required to read you your rights.. You are never required to perform field sobriety tests. You are required to submit to an evidentiary test; breath, blood, urine. Fighting, or excluding the evidence is another story. Hire a criminal attorney.

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