DUI cases can be very complicated, especially with controversial laws surrounding DUI checkpoints, blood tests, and other related issues. Not only do many of these laws vary from state to state, but officers themselves can have a hard time keeping track of them. This issue was recently demonstrated in a case where a sleepy driver was falsely arrested by an officer on incorrect grounds. Two years later, the man has finally received justice, securing an award of $70,000 for the mistreatment and abuse of his rights.
Driver Arrested for Refusing Field Sobriety Tests
The incident occurred two years ago in Santa Monica. A man was pulled over in a routine stop after he allegedly committed a violation of a right turn on a red light. When the officer approached his car after the stop, he asked the driver whether he had anything to drink or had taken any drugs. The driver replied no to both questions, but the officer still requested that he perform a field sobriety test. When the driver asked whether or not it was mandatory that he take the test by law, the officer said yes.
The issue here is that field sobriety tests are not required by law and may be legally refused by a driver. The only type of tests that are required by law in Hawaii in DUI cases are chemical tests. When a driver refuses to take one of these tests, they can have their license automatically revoked and face other consequences. Despite this, the officer continued to insist that the man take the test and harassed him with further questions on the laws, eventually forcing him to get out of the car when the man further refused to take the tests, stating that he believed he was not legally required to do so. He handcuffed the man and then called two other patrol cars for “back-up.” The man was later shoved into the back of a cop car, had his car towed, and had his dogs impounded—all for legally refusing to take a field sobriety test.
The man had his blood drawn at jail, where the results came up completely clean. After being released and paying $400 to have his car and dogs returned to him, he took legal action against the officer. Thankfully, the man was given a just outcome in this situation.
Why Legal Counsel Is So Important in DUI Cases
In this case, the officer either was unaware of the laws, misinformed, or blatantly chose to ignore them in attempts to bully and intimidate the driver into taking the field sobriety tests. This just further demonstrates why it is so important to not only know your rights, but be prepared to take action to defend them in the aftermath of a DUI arrest.
If you are seeking legal counsel, be sure to reach out to The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady, LLC today.