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How's your balance? The answer may impact your future

Some people are extremely coordinated and can perform feats that demonstrate great balance and agility. You may be part of that group or you may be among many in Colorado who can barely walk across a room without tripping over your own two feet. Everyone is different in talent and skills that involve physical tests of ability. That's why if a police officer ever asks you to take a field sobriety test, you may want to think long and hard about complying before doing so.

There is no automatic repercussion for refusing to take a FST as there typically is in most states for Breathalyzer refusal. However, if a police officer already suspects you of drunk driving, you may not be doing yourself a service by refusing to take the FST upon request. If you know what to expect and how to protect your rights, you may be able to avoid major legal problems.

Basic facts regarding FSTs

Knowing your rights and what police are checking for when giving a field sobriety test can place you one step ahead of the game is you are suspected of drunk driving. The following list includes basic information regarding FSTs, as well as where to turn for support, if needed:

  • When a police officer administers a field sobriety test, he or she is checking for multiple issues at once. Your balance ability will definitely be called into question if you stumble, sway or fall while performing FSTs.
  • In addition to balance, a police officer is also trying to determine your level of coherency when conducting FSTs. Can you follow simple instructions? Can you answer easy questions with obvious answers, such as what your address is or what day of the week it happens to be at the time? If not, this may be probable cause to arrest you on suspicion of drunk driving.
  • An officer may ask you to walk a straight line, then turn and do the same thing in the other direction. He or she may also request that you stand on one foot while counting out loud.
  • When a person is intoxicated, his or her eye movements may become erratic. If a police officer asks you to track the movement of an object using only your eyes, you can be sure he or she is checking to see if you may perhaps be drunk.

Sometimes FST evidence can be suppressed in a Colorado court. However, it's always best to seek clarification of drunk driving laws before heading to court since they vary by state.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can set the record straight on such issues and can provide strong defense assistance to try to help you avoid conviction.

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