Will My Emotions Factor into the Test Results

Interviewer:  How about the emotional state of someone being pulled over for an OWI in Wisconsin? Have you had cases where someone is so upset that maybe they’re hyperventilating or they’ve had asthma and they’re having trouble breathing because of the stress or they just simply had a meltdown? Is that something that you’re familiar with or ever had experience with?

Emotions Take a Toll on Your Results

Nathan:  Absolutely. If you look at it on the other end, which is from the point of a police officer, you will hear, “I don’t know why they were nervous if they have nothing to hide.”
That’s always an interesting thing when you’re standing behind a car trying to balance on one foot or to walk a line heel to toe keeping your arms at your side while you’re talking out loud. Anxiety has a huge part to play in it. You’re just not going to see officers say that it has a significant impact on the performance of field sobriety testing. What you’re going to hear is they were intoxicated.

Interviewer:  I think I know the answer to this, but we’ll go through this. Are these emotional states taken into account by the officer determining whether or not the person is intoxicated?

Nathan:  I would say that of course they’ll say that they will take it into consideration but, in all reality, they’re going to put you through the same tests and make their own determinations after that based on the signs of impairment they believe are indicated through the standardized field sobriety testing.

If You Start a Test be Sure to Finish It

Interviewer:  It will be noted by the police if you fail to complete any of the field sobriety tests, but what happens if you’re halfway through it and you say, “This is stupid,” and you’re done. “I quit, I’m not going to complete it.”

Nathan:  The officer’s going to say that they refused halfway through the test, and then it looks negatively upon you looking forward.

Interviewer:  Is there any difference between quitting halfway through or just refusing?

Nathan:  Either way, you’re going to be put under arrest. Let’s take that back.
The answer for you or I is either way you’re going to be put under arrest, but the proper answer for the interviewer when we tell them this answer is all that’s going to do when you refuse the standardized field sobriety test is allow the officer the next step up the ladder to give you a PBT, or preliminary breath test, on the side of the road.

If they don’t have one of those, to arrest you for suspicion of OWI to take you back for a chemical test.