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Sobriety Exercises: To walk or not to walk, that is the crucial question!

Are they mandatory? Can I say no? Should I take them? We can't answer all of these questions, but let's take a look at the many issues to consider. 

You've had a few and then you decide you are okay to drive. The idea of being stopped has not entered your mind. But alas, it happens. Blue lights. Your pulse rate doubles. You start to sweat. Now it's time to kick in the mental fortitude it will take to determine if your physical fortitude will be necessary or required. 

Although no article or blog can purport to offer legal advice over whether or not it is a good idea to accept the invitation to auditon for your freedom on the roadside under the spot lights, it is a vitally important topic to consider. Each case is different and there is no "one size fits all" rule of thumb here. It's best to ask to speak to a lawyer first before deciding on whehter or not it's a good idea to submit to the exercises. 

A few things to keep in mind about the sobriety exercises. There is considerable disagreement among the experts as to whether or not the exercises are a good gauge as to one's impairment level. In fact no where in the "bible" of law enforcement's training on sobriety exercises (NHTSA Manual on DWI Detection) does it ever claim that the exercises assess one's impairment. It simply claims that sobriety exercises can determine one's BAC level, testimony that is not even admissible in Florida. Many experts dispute this bold proclamation anyway. 

Certain exercises are also not to be administered on person's over 65 years of age or person's 50 lbs or more overweight. Additionally, becasue many of the exercises are "standardized", it means that the administration of each one of them must never deviate from the manual's instructions. If there is even the slightest deviation, then the exercises lose any validity they may have had. 

Other considerations include that many DUI officers have cameras and will record your performance. Another problem with the exercises is that they treat everyone the same. The problem with that is that my "normal faculties" are not necessarily yours. We are all different and possess vastly different physical capabilites. You do have the option to refuse the exercises. Although the state would use that decision against you if your case ever went to trial, it's best to decide what is best for you under the given circumstances. 

In most DUI cases, the sobriety exercises can be the most damning evidence of guilt where there is not a breath or blood test. A good performance could mean your immediate release or a fighting chance of an acquittal if arrested. Some officers will ask the person preliminary questions to set up the exercises before they are performed. The officer will ask the person what they do for a living and whether or not they suffer from any pertinent medical conditions. This information is then used against the person to ward off any defense that the person was not in good physical condition to perform them. 

So, think before you walk. Think before you talk. But also think before you drink!

DISCLAIMER: This is not to be taken as legal advice and you must consult a lawyer when and if a legal situation arises. 

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