A Wisconsin police officer must have reasonable cause to pull you over in a traffic stop. For example, if a patrol officer notices your tires veering over a yellow line, the next thing you see in your rearview mirror might be flashing red and blue lights. A vehicle drifting out of its lane constitutes reasonable cause to make a suspected DUI stop.
In such circumstances, it would not be out of the ordinary for the police officer to ask you to step out of your vehicle to take a field sobriety test. This is when it is imperative that you know and understand your rights. There are certain facts that can influence your decisions, which, in turn, may affect the ultimate outcome of your case.
You can refuse the request of a Wisconsin police officer for field sobriety test
There are basically three types of field sobriety tests most commonly used in Wisconsin. They are the walk-and-turn test, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, and the one-leg stance test. Each test includes a set of instructions, after which a police officer will closely observe your behavior as you perform the test.
If you have trouble following instructions or exhibit behavior that compels the officer to give you a failing score on a test, it constitutes probable cause to arrest you for DUI. Many people do not know that drivers are free to decline a request to take a field sobriety test. An officer cannot arrest or penalize you in any way for refusing.
Field sobriety tests are not objective
When a test is objective, there might be a specific question that correlates with a particular answer. Field sobriety tests are not objective. In fact, they are quite subjective because the police officer administering the test is making and interpreting personal observations. An officer already suspects you of impairment if that is why he or she pulled you over. This suspicion can have a subliminal effect on the results of your test.
Also, you might be a clumsy person by nature. If you trip or stumble while walking a straight line or standing on one leg, you will fail the test. Therefore, it’s plausible that, if you are clumsy and have not consumed any alcohol at all, you could still wind up arrested for DUI.
Know how to defend your rights in court
Wisconsin DUI laws include stiff penalties under conviction. Even on a first offense, a conviction can be disastrous to your personal and professional life. You can refute drunk driving charges in court, especially if you know you were not intoxicated at the time of the arrest or can show evidence that a personal rights violation took place.