Why to Refuse the Field Sobriety Tests if you are pulled over for a DUI / DWI in Kansas.
Everyone always ask, "What should I do if I get pulled over and I've been drinking?". There is definitely a lot of misinformation out there, so listen up.
So I will lay it out step by step for you, what you should do if you get pulled over and you've been drinking in the state of Kansas. First off, if you get pulled over and the officer ask you to take Field Sobriety Tests, always say no. Yes, even if you are sober, refuse to participate in these tests. There are a couple of reasons I say this, first, you don't have to take them! Second, these tests are designed for you to fail. There are 3 common tests that are approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for you to do, and they are not designed for people to pass. I have the tests listed below.
Field Sobriety Tests are Completely Voluntary - You Do Not Have to Take Them!
First, in Kansas, you do not have to take field sobriety tests(Walk and Turn, Stand on One-Leg, and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test or HGN.). You can say no without fear of it coming back on you in any way whatsoever. You might get arrested if you refuse, but the truth is that you will probably be arrested anyways. The officer is supposed to tell you, when they ask you to take field tests that they are voluntary. It usually sounds more like a demand that you do them rather than an option though so beware. Voluntary, by it's very definition, means a choice without negative consequences, and these tests are voluntary so why would you give them extra evidence to use against you when you don't have to.
Field Sobriety Tests are Not Easy - You Can Fail Them Even When You Think You Passed.
Second, Field sobriety tests are not truly a pass or fail test as they are called. An officer gives you a set of instructions, you are supposed carry out those instructions, and then the officer will grade you on them. However, sometimes these tests aren't on video so then you are looking at a situation where it's your word vs. the officer's word. I'll give you a hint who the judge is more likely to believe.... the officer. Another problem with these tests is that often the officer doesn't administer them accordingly with the standards they are supposed to. For example on the test called the Walk and Turn test you are supposed to walk heel to toe for nine steps while not raising your arms for balance ever, or stepping off of the line which may be real or imaginary the officer has told you to stay on. There are just so many spots to screw up for anyone who is sober or drunk. This effectively means that you can fail these tests when you are sober.
When you factor both of these reasons it's easy to see that you should always refuse the Field Sobriety Tests. The fact that you may blow under .08 on a breathalyzer doesn't necessarily get you off the hook. In Kansas they can still charge you with DUI if you are under .08, but they need other evidence like Field Sobriety Tests to do so, so why give it to them? These are the reasons why I always tell people to refuse refuse refuse the Field Sobriety Tests.
If you ever do run into trouble with a drunk driving charge call our office to speak with an experienced Overland Park Criminal Defense Attorney.