Tired or Drunk? Field Tests Cannot Distinguish Between The Two
Field Tests Are Not Fair If You Are Tired!
Imagine yourself driving home late at night after a long day at work. You have been putting in long hours to finish a project. Your eyes are bloodshot from looking at a screen all day and you need a shower. Your wife calls and you fumble for the cell phone. As you do, you drift slightly across the yellow lane dividing lines. That is when you see the lights of a police officer behind you. He approaches your car window and asks what you had to drink. Then he asks you to step out to perform standardized field tests. These tests judge your balance, physical ability and attention level. Sometimes police officers have demanded such bizarre feats as reciting the alphabet… backwards. It is very easy for perfectly sober people to fail these tests, even if they have not had one drop of alcohol to drink. Could you pass?
In a recent story out of Santa Monica, California a man was arrested for drunk driving at a sobriety checkpoint. Knowing his rights and being suspect of the fairness of the tests, he refused to participate in the field tests. That is when he was placed under arrest. “In case you are wondering if the man in the video was actually drunk or inebriated in some way, he was forced to take a blood test when he got to the Santa Monica, California jail. The test came back clean: no drugs and no alcohol. He was literally just sleepy.” Id. What makes this scenario even scarier is the fact that officers are trained (NHTSA Student Manual) that extreme fatigue can mimic impairment in the performance of standardized field tests.
This story has a happy ending. After two years of legal wrangling, the motorist was awarded $70,000.00 for his false arrest. If you have been falsely accused of an OVI (drunk driving) charge, please contact Charles M. Rowland II at 937-318-1384.