Are Forced Field Sobriety Test Constitutional or Not
On October 7, 2014 a bill was enrolled and presented to Governor Snyder which makes the refusal roadside field sobriety test screenings against the law and a civil infraction. The refusal of a “roadside field sobriety test screening” will get you a civil infraction that comes with a hefty fine. Prior to this law officers could not ask for a sobriety test screening unless reasonable cause is presented, however this prerequisite was often disregarded. This roots from the new language used in the law. Previously, preliminary chemical breath test refusals were against the law, and now preliminary field sobriety test refusals are also. The new language does not require the appearance of intoxication, but simply the desire to detect if a person has indulged in a controlled substance or alcohol. The language set forth as follows:
(a) Alcoholic liquor.
(b) A controlled substance, as that term is defined in section 7104 of the public health code,
1978 PA 368, MCL 333.7104.
(c) Any other intoxicating substance, as that term is defined in section 625.
(d) Any combination of the substances listed in subdivisions (a) to (c).
Police officers need a warrant to search a person’s breath with a datamaster test if suspected to be intoxicated. However, they do not need a warrant to request a preliminary breath test and your refusal to take that test will result in a civil infraction. Questions arose in reference to a driver’s right against self-incrimination, and if the absence of a warrant violates that right, have yet to be seen. Questions are asked for potential situations were drivers refuse to take the field sobriety tests, and if these cases go to court, can these individuals refuse to be used as evidence before a jury?
Keep in mind that refusals to take preliminary breath tests as well as field sobriety test screening are only civil infraction that cannot lead to jail. if you do choose to take these sobriety tests the evidence can be used against you in a criminal misdemeanor or felony OWI/DUI.OWVI/DUID case and the penalties can be much more severe. Thus, at Rudoi Law we recommend never taking any field sobriety tests and just dealing with the civil infraction tickets.
If you or a family member is facing charges contact Rudoi Law today. At Rudoi Law we are experts in the logistics and science of Criminal Defense.