The Initial Arrest
Most DWIs begin with the officer stopping your vehicle on a pretext or other minor violation, in the hope that you have been drinking. This normally happens at night after 8:30 P.M. when the officer knows a significant number of motorists have been drinking. Often the cop will stake out a bar or other location where he (or she) knows people will have consumed alcoholic beverages.
The officer will ask you questions designed to elicit a confession that you’ve been drinking and feel impaired. He will then attempt to get you to take what he will claim are “standard” field sobriety tests.
As a general rule, you should refuse the field tests. There is no established penalty for such a refusal, but the officer will probably take you to the station for a blood or breath test for alcohol. The main reason to refuse the field tests is they are very subjective. This means the officer is the sole judge of whether you pass or fail. There will likely be no videotape or other evidence showing how well or how poorly you performed the exams – only the word of the arresting officer.
Once at the station, you should refuse the breath or blood test – unless you truly believe you will pass. If you refuse, your driver’s license will be suspended. If you take the test and fail, your license will also be suspended but for a slightly shorter period of time.
Note: if you score significantly above the limit on a 1st or 2nd offense DWI, there is mandatory jail time.
If we can be of help to you concerning a DWI or another legal matter, please give us a call at (225) 293-6200, toll free at (800) 404-1921 or visit us at http://gouner.com.