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Wisconsin Drunk Driving Laws
Traffic stops, road blocks, and many other social situations can lead to police officers conducted a field sobriety test, some times referred to as a drunk test. Failure of these tests can lead to police charging a person with a Felony or Misdemeanor drunk driving offense, including an OWI. If you refuse to take a field sobriety test, blow for breathalyzer test, or have a blood draw performed to test your blood alcohol content level, Police can charge you with a Refusal (see Refusing To Test).
What are the field sobriety tests?
To be standardized, (standardized field sobriety test SFST's) all three tests should be done in this order and sequence.
The National Highway Safety group through the California Highway Patrol created those tests. Those tests have many flaws. Their original design was to standardize tests so that law enforcement could tell whether a person's blood alcohol content was over .10. It has become more of a Simon says game that police play in order to show lack of physical dexterity and blame that lack of dexterity on alcohol or drugs. The State Patrol publishes a DWI Detection and Standard Field Sobriety Testing manual to teach law enforcement how to perform the tests.
The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test is an eye test, which looks for nystagmus. Nystagmus is a jerking of the eye. Nystagmus can be caused by a number of natural conditions, such as a bump on the head, and can be present after the consumption of alcohol for up to 24 hours. Law Enforcement will testify that this is an autonomic response, not able to be controlled consciously. Law enforcement look for the six clues listed below.
1. Lack of smooth pursuit in the right eye.
2. Lack of smooth pursuit in the left eye.
3. Nystagmus before 45 degrees in the right eye.
4. Nystagmus before 45 degrees in the left eye.
5. Nystagmus at maximum deviation in the right eye.
6. Nystagmus at the maximum deviation in the left eye.
Law enforcement look for the clues listed below when conducting a “walk and turn test”.
1. Cannot keep balance while listening to instructions, meaning that the suspect does not maintain the heel to toe position throughout the instructions.
2. Starts the test before the instructions are finished.
3. Suspect stops while walking to steady self.
4. Does not touch heel to toe by more than a ½ inch on any step.
5. Steps off the line.
6. Use of arms to balance. The suspect raises one or both arms more than 6 inches from the sides in order to maintain balance.
7. Improper turn. The suspect removes the front foot from the line while turning, or the suspect moves both feet, or several directions were not followed while turning. For example, if the suspect pivots in one movement instead of several small steps, this counts as a clue.
8. Incorrect number of steps. If the suspect takes more or less than nine steps it is a clue. Making the same error multiple times does not count as multiple clues.
Law enforcement are looking for four clues in this test. A good cross examination will show that most people struggle to perform these tests and that there are non-alcohol related reasons for each and every clue.
1. The suspect sways while balancing.
2. Suspect uses arms for balance. Suspect moves arms more than 6 inches from his side in order to maintain balance.
3. Suspect hops.
4. Suspect puts foot down before 30 seconds has elapsed.
Contact Rudolph Law Today!
If you have been charged with a drunk driving offense or anticipate charges will be forthcoming, you cannot wait to talk to Attorney Rudolph. Time is limited! Call him directly at 920-730-8533.