If pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence in Philadelphia you will likely be asked to submit to a series of field sobriety tests, meant to test your level of sobriety and whether you should be given a breathalyzer or taken into custody. With that said, however, you are not required to take field sobriety tests and in certain cases it may in fact be in your best interest to refuse.
Below, a Philadelphia DUI attorney discusses the factors that go into refusing a field sobriety test and how these tests can be used against you in court. To learn more call and schedule a consultation today.
First and foremost in Philadelphia field sobriety tests are not admissible for trial. However, the way a person acts could show their ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.
If a person’s balance was not off, that could be evidence that a person was fine. If a person doesn’t have the smell of alcohol, if the person is able to communicate with the officer without slurring, if the person had eyes that were not red – all of these could be indicators to help an individual prove that they were capable of operating a motor vehicle safely on the roads of Philadelphia.
In addition to that, an officer should be trained on all methods of DUI suspicion in addition to field sobriety testing. Unless the officer has attended classes and is certified, an experienced Philadelphia DUI trial attorney can make a big issue over an untrained officer attempting to testify that a person was unable to do certain things.
As a result, if you seek the advice of an experience Philadelphia DUI attorney, that attorney is going to know how to seek out the officer’s experience and any certified testing that the officer has done over field sobriety tests, and will be able to seek out which tests were given and why and whether or not the results of those tests can be used by the defense to show that a person was actually capable of operating a motor vehicle safely on the roads of Philadelphia.
In Philadelphia, also known as the city of brotherly love, a person can certainly refuse to perform field sobriety tests. A person can refuse to answer any questions given by the officer or made by the officer. The only thing that a person cannot refuse, in the case that there is reasonable belief that a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and operating a motor vehicle, is the blood test or breathalyzer. While a person is within their rights to refuse these tests there are dire consequences for doing so.
There’s a per se indication that the person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of driving, which is a very large hurdle to overcome at a trial. Additionally, the person will lose their license privileges for one year regardless of what happens with the DUI. What that basically means is a person can be acquitted of a DUI charge and can still lose their license for a year because they refuse to submit to a mandatory drug and/or breathalyzer test.
The officers are required to read your O’Connor warnings and those warnings simply indicate that a person has the right to refuse a blood and/or alcohol breathalyzer test, however upon refusing will be given knowledge that their license will be suspended for a year. Those are commonly known as the Philadelphia and/or Pennsylvania O’Connor warnings.
An experienced Philadelphia DUI attorney will have those O’Connor warnings in writing provided by the police along with all other materials necessary in defending against a DUI case.