If I’m Arrested For DWI What Are My Rights?

What Are My Rights If I Am Arrested For A DWI?

Part 2

As you are talking to the officer, they are going to observe your body language, your voice, your answers, and whether or not you are slurring any words. Of course, they are also going to be looking for the scent of alcohol on your breath. There are three things you always want to remember whenever you are talking with a police officer. The officer is not required to read you your rights at the juncture. The conversation has been recorded by either the officer’s body camera or one that is equipped in the police cruiser. However, the most important thing to remember is you always have the right to remain silent. It is best to remain calm and polite and simply state that you would prefer to answer any questions with your attorney present. While this may not keep you from being arrested, it will help you from incriminating yourself.

DWI and Your Rights During the Field Sobriety Tests

After being stopped, if the officer believes it is a possible DWI, they will ask you to step out of your car.

As the camera records your actions, you will be asked to do a series of tasks known as Field Sobriety Tests which seek out:

  • Any possible swaying or swaggering
  • Possible delayed reactions and movements

While you are in the charge of an officer you must comply with any reasonable demands such as stepping out of your vehicle, however, you are under no obligation to incriminate yourself. In addition, it is not required that you perform an on-scene breath test or other field sobriety tests.

Typically, the most commonly requested field sobriety tests include:

  • The HGN or Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus involves the individual standing with feet together, hands at your side, and head still. Then you are asked to follow an object that is held in his hand such as a pen.
  • In this instance, the officer is looking for an involuntary eye-jerking motion known as Nystagmus. Enhanced Nystagmus typically indicates that an individual’s blood alcohol level is above .08. A variety of diseases such as brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, diabetic neuropathy, and other neurological issues may cause instances of Nystagmus.
  • It is important to understand that this is not a test that needs doing.

Another test often asked of individuals is the one-leg stand, in which you are requested to stand with your feet together and one foot six inches off the ground as you count. In this test, the officer is in search of four types of clues.

  • Holding arms out for balance
  • Swaying from side to side while balancing
  • Hopping while on one foot
  • Placing your foot down while being tested

Many of these signs can be a simple matter of lack of coordination or it just may be a difficult task for an individual due to an injury.

This is another test that you do not have to do.

The walk and turn test requests individuals to stand heel-to-toe with both arms at their side while they walk 9 heel-to-toe steps ahead. You are then asked to turn around and do several smaller steps and then 9 heel-to-toe steps back.

There are 8 obvious clues that the officer is searching for in this test.

  • Unable to hold the balance
  • Starting the test too soon
  • Stops walking during the test
  • Stepping off the line
  • Taking the wrong number of steps
  • Unable to walk heel to toe
  • Using arms for balance
  • Turning improperly

While some of these could be an indication of intoxication, they may also be a sign of a flawed test. Many people find this to be a truly difficult test to pass as it is designed to throw you off balance. Many people fail this test due to a lack of proper directions or the inability to hear what the officer requested.

Again, always remember that this is not a test that you have to do!

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