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The do's and don'ts of field sobriety stops, Part 1

You're nervous. You've never been asked to exit your vehicle before. You're sweating, uncomfortable, and the officer can tell. He explains that he suspects you have been drinking and driving and he is going to test your coordination. Even if you haven't been drinking, passing a field sobriety test is difficult for people with poor balance, who are nervous, or are tired after a long day at work. To help you pass, here a few things to never, ever do.

First, it sounds hilariously obvious, but do not fall. Cars require an extraordinary amount of balance to operate, especially stick-shift. You need to "feel" the car, recognize the brakes, understand your cars turn ratio, among other skills that are all dependent on your balance. If you fall, the first thing the officer notices is that your balance is off and therefore your ability to operate a vehicle is impaired.

Second, do not even run away. More likely than not, the officer will chase you down and arrest you. Additionally, even if you do manage to evade pursuit, you will eventually be caught. The officer knows your name, driver's license, and he has your car. You cannot get too far, and you can't go home, someone is going to find and arrest you. Moreover, nothing says guilty to a jury more than running away.

If you were arrested under a field sobriety stop, then you should contact a defense attorney at your earliest convenience. Field sobriety stops are highly regulated by the courts and police department procedures. The officer must execute the test pursuant to those rules, or he risks violating your rights. A lawyer can carefully review the circumstances of your arrest to determine your rights were respected and if proper procedures were followed. Failure to follow these procedures may even result in evidence being excluded or the charges dropped.

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