Tag Archives: dui attorney in raleigh

Should You Submit To A Field Sobriety Test When Pulled Over In Raleigh, NC?

Whether at a checkpoint stop or just being pulled over, you may be asked to take a field sobriety test to determine if you are driving under inebriation. However, you do have the right to refuse to take these “roadside tests” even if you have consumed alcohol.

But if you’re sober, why not take them and prove that you are? Because like a breath alcohol device, field sobriety tests are not always accurate, and may not be properly administered. You could end up being arrested for “driving under the influence” when you’re anything but.

Field Sobriety Testing (FST)

North Carolina officers administer a series of three roadside tests to determine if a driver is impaired:

Should you submit to a Field Sobriety Test when pulled over in Raleigh, NC?

·         The “Walk-And-Turn” Test—the officer will ask you to walk in a straight line, one foot in front of the other so that the officer can observe your sense of balance. He or she may also ask you to take a specific number of steps, and observe if you can remember the number. Unfortunately, a number of variables can affect your balance, from foot pain to uncomfortable shoes to other physical impairments.

·         The “One Leg Stand” Test—the officer will ask you to stand on one leg for 30 seconds and count to 30. The officer will observe both balance and your ability to count. The officer is looking for four things:

  • Swaying while balancing
  • Balancing with arms
  • Hopping
  • Putting down the raised foot

Like the previous test, a number of variables can affect the outcome, including your age, weight, street or weather conditions or your current physical condition, such as an injury like a pulled muscle. Officers who incorrectly administer the test may interpret the results incorrectly, declaring you “impaired.”

·         The “Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test” (HGN)—this is the test where an officer asks you to stand still, hands at your sides, and follow his finger, a light, or some other object put in front of you. If your eyes don’t move smoothly side to side, but in a jerking fashion, you’ll be determined to be “impaired.”

Additionally, breath alcohol testing mechanisms may not be used or calibrated properly, leading to even more inaccurate evidence.

These tests are, by some accounts, designed to make you fail them. The passing and failing of these tests is a personal decision made by the officer.

Obviously, a number of factors can affect the outcome. Fatigue, allergies, injuries and other ailments can lead to a “failed attempt.” An elderly driver not in peak physical condition may not be able to hold his or her leg up for 30 seconds or do a walk-and-turn to the officer’s satisfaction.

No matter how well you perform these tests, if the police officer renders an opinion in court that you didn’t perform them adequately, this would indicate to him or her that you were indeed “impaired,” even if you weren’t. A jury may well side with the officer based on his or her opinion.

Additionally, breath alcohol testing mechanisms may not be used or calibrated properly, leading to even more false evidence.

Refusing The FST

So what happens if you refuse to take these tests?

You are within your rights to refuse to take the FSTs, as well as inform the officer that you have a medical condition that can affect the outcome (such as recent knee surgery.) You will not lose your license. But because of the high incidence of incorrect results, it’s better to decline the FST rather than explain to a court why you failed them. This way, you’ll be arguing that the testing is unreliable and wasn’t suitable instead of defending yourself against a “failed” FST.

CAVEAT: refusing the EC/IR-II Breathalyzer test is another matter and can lead to a year-long suspension of your license. This is not the same as refusing the FST. But like the FST, these devices are also subject to incorrect results, especially if the officer is not properly trained in their use, or it has not been properly calibrated or maintained.

Miranda warnings are also not required before a Breathalyzer is administered.

Have You Failed An FST? Call An Experienced DUI Attorney

If you’ve been subjected to a suspected DUI traffic stop, Dewey P. Brinkley is a Raleigh attorney who can aggressively defend you and protect your rights in court. He will review all the evidence in your case and ensure that you have a fair trial.

Call the Law Offices of Dewey P. Brinkley today for a free initial consultation to discuss your DUI case at (919) 832-0307. You can also email us at dewey@deweypbrinkleylaw.com, or use our online contact form.

 

Are Raleigh DWIs Public Record?

Public records are any kind of information pertaining to a governmental agency. It’s data or other information collected by the government that isn’t of a confidential nature. The most common public records are birth and death records, marriage and divorce records, lien information and bankruptcy records, but there are quite a number of others. Accessibility depends on what state you live in.

Companies that charge for online record searches (i.e., Intellius) also use public records for background checks and people searcher functions. While they can provide the information you can find yourself, the sites can gather it much faster.

But after a DUI arrest, you may be wondering if anyone else can, or will, find out about it.

Arrest Records Are Public Records

Are Raleigh DWIs Public Record?

If you’ve been arrested in Raleigh for DWI—or anything else—anyone can find out about it through a public record search.

According to the Wake County website, any kind of governmental record collected by any state agency is considered to be “property of the people.” Any information of this kind is to be made public unless it is specifically marked as confidential in nature (i.e., with identifying information such as a date of birth or Social Security numbers.) This includes arrest records, real estate deeds and other types of information that involves a public entity. Wake County abides by the North Carolina Public Records Law, found at N.C.G.S. Chapter 132, which explains public records in further detail.

Public records are required to be made available to the public for free or for a “nominal cost,” but are also accessible online. Internet access to public records is immediate, as well as saves Wake County money on maintenance, staff, and overhead.

City-County Bureau of Identification (CCBI)

Wake County arrest records are in the CCBI portal and are searchable for free. The types of offenses that are in the database are listed in the North Carolina General Statute § 15A-502. Driving while intoxicated is included in the list. You can access the database online and for free. However, current case status and dispositions are not included in the database but are available in the Wake County Clerk of Superior Court’s Office.

How It Affects You

Anytime you’re asked if you’ve been arrested, you’re required to disclose that you have (unless you’ve had an expunction in NC.)  Background checks for employment, housing, education and other things are easy to get, so if you don’t answer truthfully, you’ll be found out almost immediately.

Loans like mortgages, student loans, credit cards and other types of revolving charges may be more difficult to get. This can limit your ability to acquire housing, education, and other necessities.

Additionally, a DUI arrest almost immediately raises your insurance rate, since you’re now “high risk.” You may even be dropped by your insurance company, but there are some insurers who offer insurance to those who have a DUI.

Fight The DUI

Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County prosecutor who works to defend DUI cases. He will prepare a strong defense and make sure you receive a fair trial under the law. Contact our Raleigh law office today at (919) 832-0307 for a free consultation. You can also email him at dewey@deweybrinkleylaw.com.