Getting pulled over by a police officer puts an added stress on anyone's day. If the officer suspects that you consumed alcohol before getting behind the wheel, the amount of stress you face in regard to the stop could increase, especially if the officer takes you into custody.
Typically, before an arrest takes place, an officer will conduct various actions in efforts to investigate the situation. When it comes to a potential DUI stop, the officer may ask you questions about your activities prior to the stop or may even ask you to get out of the vehicle to participate in standard field sobriety tests.
Circumstances of the testing
You may want to remember that you do not have a legal obligation to participate in field sobriety tests. Of course, you may not have known this information before an officer stopped your vehicle. As a result, you may have thought that you had to comply with the officer's instructions. If you did participate in these roadside tests and the officer arrested you, you are not out of luck.
As your case moves forward, you may want to consider the circumstances under which the testing took place. If any of the following hazards were present during your testing, you may have reason to question the officer's probable cause for taking you into custody:
- The officer had you conduct the tests in a dangerous area of the road, such as in a curve, on a hill or on a bridge.
- The officer had you participate in the tests on dirt, gravel or another surface that made it difficult to keep your footing.
- The officer carried out field sobriety tests in heavy rain, wind or other conditions that made it difficult for you to perform the tests.
- The officer may have taken you from the original stop scene in order to find a different location to conduct testing. If this happened and you felt that you were not free to leave, the officer may have violated your Fourth Amendment rights.
Even if any of these circumstances were present, you may still need to conduct a further assessment of your situation. Having as much information about your traffic stop and subsequent arrest may allow you to build a meaningful criminal defense against the DUI allegations brought against you. Working with a California attorney could better ensure that all details of your case are reviewed thoroughly.