Interviewer: What are some ways that there’s miscommunication or misinterpretation that occurs during these kind of situations by the police officer?
Michael Munoz: A lot of times, police officers make mistakes on their FST evaluations, when they’re marking up what they see. One of the most common things I see is an officer saying that, “If you refuse field sobriety tests, we’re going to suspend your license”. That is just legally not true. If an officer ever says it to someone, they just need to ask to speak to an attorney before they do anything and they should say over and over and they should refuse to do the field sobriety tests.
Many People Consent to Field Sobriety Tests Because they Mistakenly Believe that It’s Going to Help Their Case
Interviewer: Why do you think a lot of people agree to do the field sobriety tests?
Michael Munoz: A lot of people are conditioned to think that if they are nice and polite with the officer that the officer is going to be nice back to them. A lot of people make that mistake because they think that, “If I’m just a nice guy, I might be able to talk my way out of it”, when the case says is that these officers don’t get paid to drive people home, they get paid to make an arrest. While we respect what officers do, when they’re investigating you for DUI, you must realize that complying with all of their directions in terms of taking these tests when you don’t have to only hurts your potential criminal defense later.
Certain People May Perform FSTs Because They’re Intimidated by Police Presence
Interviewer: The evasive kind is also like an intimidation factor maybe where someone just feels intimidated by the officer and said, “Well, that’s why I agreed to doing it because I thought I would get in trouble”?
Michael Munoz: That’s very common but the courts are really not going to give a lot of credence to that. The thing is that if an officer forces you to do it, that’s one thing but if he’s just scaring you, you need to stick to your guns and you say you’re not going to do the field sobriety tests.
A Brief Description of the Walk and Turn Test in The State of Arizona
Interviewer: What you can tell us about the walk a straight line or the Walk and Turn test? How’s that one administered? How should it be administered and what a police officer is looking for?
Michael Munoz: The officer is supposed to explain the tests thoroughly, every piece of it, and then he’s also actually supposed to demonstrate it as well. But I ask officers about it and they so routinely say that they do both at the same time, which I think is pretty unfair because if you’re going to explain the test and you’re going to show somebody, you really need to do it in a thorough way so that they know exactly what they have to do. What they’re going to ask to do is they’re going to ask a person to take certain amount of steps, starting with a certain foot and then, they’re going to ask that person to walk heel to toe in a straight line and if there’s no line, then they’ll say, “Create an imaginary line”. The problem with the imaginary line is now, the officer can say whatever the line is and can say whatever you stepped off of it. They ask the person to turn back around, they have many multiple rules and the officers are going to do all this and then, they’re going to check off everything they say that you did not do right.