After a person gets pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, it can be hard to know whether to submit to a field sobriety test.

Field sobriety tests are used by law enforcement officers because they are quick and easy. However, they are not as accurate as the more reliable kind administered in laboratories, so some people ask to be given that kind of test. On the other hand, sometimes people fear that making such a request will annoy the officer and reduce the likelihood that he or she will show leniency.

A story that illustrates the difficulty people face when asked to take a field sobriety tests comes to us from Athens, Georgia, home of the University of Georgia. Texas A & M students might read this story with particular interest: on Saturday, a 22-year-old man was pulled over because he had been speeding. After noticing the smell of alcohol on the man's breath, the officer asked him to take a field sobriety test. The man at first refused. He changed his mind and told the officer he would take the test after all, but once outside the vehicle decided once again that he would not.

The officer than asked the man to enter his squad car and take what was evidently a different sort of field sobriety test. The man said he would not, so the officer arrested him on suspicion of DUI.

The man was taken to the county jail, where a breath test showed he was intoxicated. The men asked to be re-tested at a hospital. He was taken to a hospital, but then found out staff there do not perform alcohol tests, so he had to be taken to a second hospital. Eventually, the man was issued two citations and charged with a DUI.

As you can see, this man was attempting to make sure he got the most accurate results so he could be sure he would not be unfairly hit with the severe penalties that accompany drunk-driving convictions. Instead, what he got was a lot of hassle. His frustrating experience goes to show how difficult it is for average people to deal with the law when they are arrested on suspicion of DUI. Because of the know-how and finesse required to deal with DUI charges, many people choose to work with criminal defense attorneys when they find themselves accused of driving while intoxicated.

Source: The Athens Red and Black, "Crime notebook, Aug. 13" Julia Carpenter, Aug. 14, 2001.