By Scott Pierson
In Greene County, Missouri the rules regarding Standardized Field Sobriety tests are changing. Back in late 2015, Greene County Sheriff’s Office and Highway Patrol in Greene County switched away from performing field sobriety tests to no field testing. So what does this mean for the average driver? Simply put, it’s more likely you’ll get arrested for suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
The National Highway and Traffic Administration rigorously researched Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. These tests include: the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, the walk-and-turn test, and the one-leg stand test. All these tests have been verified to be reasonably accurate in determining when someone is likely to be impaired. In Springfield, Missouri, these tests are no longer being required in DWI Investigations. In fact, these tests are often times discouraged. Instead they are moving to simply providing a portable breath test.
Portable breath tests are historically unreliable. They are more likely to detect mouth alcohol as well as types of alcohol besides ethanol alcohol. As a result of the unreliability of these tests, the Missouri legislature has limited the admissibility of these tests in order to prove intoxication. However, that has not stopped law enforcement officers from using these tests to make a determination to arrest an individual; without investigation into whether that person is actually impaired.
The new Greene County Policy is designed to make DWI enforcement quicker, and at the same point in time, to make more arrests. It’s always important when faced with a potential DWI, to contact an attorney. Remember you have a right to contact an attorney upon being arrested for suspicion of driving while intoxicated. All you must do is ask to speak to an attorney.