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Presenting to the Jury Refusal to Take Field Sobriety Test

Assume a defendant has been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. Assume also that when he or she was arrested, the defendant refused to perform any field sobriety tests, such as the one-leg-stand test.

How should the Orange County DUI defense lawyer address this issue so that the jurors don’t hold the defendant’s refusal against him or her. Clearly, the wrong approach would be to ask the jurors: “Would you hold against my client the fact that he refused to perform the one-leg-stand test?”

Instead, an experienced Orange County DUI defense lawyer would ask the following: “My client has been charged with DUI. Mr. Juror, can you imagine a situation when it might be appropriate for a person to refuse to perform the one-leg-stand test?” After Mr. Juror suggests some possibilities, the DUI defense lawyer asks other jurors to suggest additional situations in which a defendant might reasonably refuse to perform the tests. By doing this, the DUI defense lawyer opens up the jurors’ minds to the possibility that it can be acceptable to decline to take the tests. And, if during cross-examination of the arresting officer the DUI attorney suggests those same situations, and the officer considers them to be unreasonable, the jurors may reject the officer’s testimony, perceiving him as someone who doesn’t relate to their ideas of what is reasonable.

If you’ve been arrested for DUI, contact Orange County DUI defense lawyer Chad Maddox.