06 Jul State v. Mecham – Sobriety Tests
Mr. Mecham was stopped and investigated for DUI. During the stop, officers asked Mr. Mecham to perform voluntary field sobriety tests. Mr. Mecham refused to perform these tests. At trial, the State presented evidence of Mr. Mecham’s refusal against him at trial. The Washington Supreme Court held that Mr. Mecham’s rights were not violated because a field sobriety test is not a “search” under the Washington State or Federal Constitutions and Mr. Mecham had no constitutional right to refuse to perform the field sobriety tests.
Many DUI defense attorneys advise clients against performing field sobriety tests because these tests are often difficult and generally provide incriminating evidence that can be used against them later. This case means that now a refusal to perform voluntary tests can be used against you as evidence of guilt at trial. This is a huge blow to all DUI defendants who have been advised against performing these tests and leaves individuals with the choice to perform the test and incriminate themselves, or refuse the test and have that used against them later.