Remember when you were a kid and you'd compete against your siblings or friends to see who could stand on one foot the longest? Little did you know then that being the champion of the game in your Georgia neighborhood would one day come in handy during a traffic stop. Standing on one foot (while counting out loud) is a common type of Field Sobriety Test that a police officer may ask you to perform if he or she suspects you of drunk driving.
There are several types of FSTs. An officer can't legally obligate you to comply to the request to take such tests. Your refusal may come back to haunt you later, however, if you wind up facing charges in court. Even though results of FSTs are typically not admissible as evidence in court, prosecutors may use the fact that you refused a test against you. Therefore, it's best to know your rights ahead of time, as well as what to expect if a cop asks you to step out of your car and walk a straight line.
Balance, coherency and eye movements are key factors
You may be among others who have the uncanny ability to multi-task. On the other hand, you may have trouble doing even two things at once. Multi-tasking is a common component of FSTs. The following information may help you prepare, should a police officer ever ask you to submit to an FST:
- If your gait is unstable, as in you waver, stumble or fall while performing the FST known as the walk-and-turn test, a police officer may use that as grounds to arrest you for drunk driving.
- When asking you to hold your arms out at shoulder length and then walk with the heel of one foot at the top of the toes on the other, an investigator is checking to see if you can follow multiple instructions, as well as whether you have the physical agility and balance to carry out the tasks.
- Another common FST is the one foot stance. Often, you will also have to count aloud simultaneously. Perhaps an officer will ask you to recite the alphabet instead. Either way, balance, clear speech and coherency may help you avoid an arrest.
- Your eye movements are another thing to which an investigating police officer will pay close attention during a possible DUI traffic stop.
If you have failed one or more of these tests, you may not only head to jail but may also be at great risk for a drunk driving conviction. Chemical test results and other evidence may greatly impact your future. Generally speaking, the sooner you plan a defense strategy, the better off you'll be in court.
This is why most Georgia motorists request legal representation as soon as an officer detains them.