Gut Rumbles

August 25, 2004

field sobreity test

My personal lawyer for when I get in SMALL trouble told me once, "NEVER take a field sobriety test if a cop asks you to. They'll film it and make you do something to appear impared. Then, if you pull a .075 on a breathylizer, they're gonna bust your ass. Blow the tube, ask for a blood test, but NEVER take a field sobriety test."

I think that's good advice, because I took one today in my living room, based upon what I saw on a TV show. It was 8:30 in the morning. I had been out of bed for an hour and I wasn't popping like a string of firecrackers every time I moved anymore. I had nothing to drink but a glass of pineapple juice.

I took the test and flunked the hell out of it. GODDAM!!! What kind of test IS that??? I might have passed it DRUNK when I was a 17 year-old athlete, but I'm a decrepit old fart now. I can't do some of that shit when I'm stone sober.

"Spread your arms, throw your head back, close your eyes and touch the tip of your nose with your left hand." Okay, I tried that and almost fell down while putting my eye out. I'm an OLD MAN! I have vertigo. I CAN'T DO THAT! I staggered. GUILTY on video tape.

"Walk a straight line, placing you feet heel-to-toe." BWHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!! With MY knees, my bow-legs and my fucked-up left foot, how far do you think I got before I almost fell on my Cracker ass? About three steps. GUILTY on videotape.

"Recite the alphabet." Okay, no problem there. I still remember the song.

"Now recite the alphabet starting with first letter first and last letter next until you finish in the middle." WTF??? All right.... A, Z, B, X, No! No! That last one should be Y. Now... where did I leave off at the beginning? I flunked the shit out of that one, too, even though I use the alphabet every day. GUILTY on videotape.

"Pick up this dime from the hood of the car." Oh, no... I KNOW BETTER than to fall for that one. I couldn't pick up a silver dollar from my CARPET, let alone pick up a dime from the hood of a car. I'm only good at picking up wimmen. I don't do coins very well. GUILTY on videotape.

Think about it. You don't HAVE to take a field sobreity test, so don't... especially if you believe that you can beat the breathyzer. If you're drunk, just give up and get in the squad car. You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, so now face the medicine.

But if you're NOT DRUNK, refuse a field sobriety test.

Written as a Public Service announcement sponsored by unnamed sources.


My problem with all of this .08, .18, and the .23 stuff is: What the hell does it all mean as to how you feel and how you can react? Someone can tell me I have a blood alcohol of .09 and it doesn't mean a thing to me. I've always wanted to get blasted and see what my blood alcohol was AT THAT TIME.... Then, I could honestly say: "Yes... I'm drunk!"

Everything is relative, no?

Posted by: Bob on August 25, 2004 08:59 PM

Aha! I knew I wasn't the only one!

It was a dark night, and the cop chased me for two miles before he flipped on his blues. I had thought he was a jealous husband. So, here I am, a mere frightened lad, freezing in a cold wind, trying to stand on one foot in cowboy boots at two in the morning. Of course I failed, and I was stone sober.

They served a pretty fair breakfast in jail.

Posted by: Stoney on August 25, 2004 10:29 PM

Been there, done that, and was guilty as HELL. Rob's admitted to it, so here's my story.

Wednesday night, I get home after doing a little run and eat some dinner after my shower. Buddy calls me up to see if I wanna hit the bar by his place. "Sure, a little beer never hurt anybody" I say. Whoa boy.

We show up, and we leave his place. He's going to get into his car, I say, "Nah, I'll drive. I got a CD I want you to listen to." He actually says he'd feel like a dick if we got pulled over and I went to jail at that point. I sluff it off, we're not going to be out long and it's not that far of a drive. Damnit.

Usually we'd have just walked, but it was raining, and I really didn't intend on drinkin' much. I did have to work the next day.

The drive was so short we only heard about 1:30 of that song before we got there. That INCLUDES the time it takes to navigate the apartment roads to get to the main road. Once out on the main drag we're talking 300 meters or so.

Well, hell if I didn't get hammered. I didn't realize it, but we had been there a while. Drinking out of pitchers (and having a couple lady friends show up later) kept us there a while and I couldn't count how many I had. We'd fill a glass when it got half-way down and such. I figure I'm fine though and maybe just about near the legal limit when we leave.

Negative, ghost rider.

I pull out onto the road and I shit you not within 40 yards I got lights behind me. WTF? I'm not speeding I think as I look down. Nope, not speeding. WTF? Then I realize that my daytime running lights are on... but I forgot to turn on my tail lights and dashboard lights. Busted. In my defense I was doing that all the time back then becaue the car I had been driving for 2 years previous didn't HAVE dash lights. i was used to it.

So, I pull over in the next available driveway once I realize I'm fucking busted. This is actually the apartment complex driveway. I wander down there for a bit (50-75 yards?) and pull into the back parking lot of a Blockbuster Video. Cop asks me why I didn't pull over and I told him that I've seen videos of cop cars getting hit when people pull over in traffic and I wanted to make sure we were in a safe spot. Asks me where I'm headed. I POINT to the door and he responds, "Ain't that a bitch." Yes, it is.

Now, I'm a nervous fellow when I know I'm caught. I KNOW I'm going to jail at this point and it shows. You want me to stand on one foot while my legs are shaking like leaves? Yeah, right! I was stiff as a board and trying not to move on that one. Tipped over. Completed successfully a second later when I settled down a bit.

Walk a straight line and turn around? Yeah, no problem. I'm shakey, but I do it.

Recite my alphabet? Yep, A-Z, no problems.

Count backwards by 5 from 90 to 45? Sure... except I stopped at 40. Damned grade school. I always do it in chucks of to. 90.. .85 80 ... 75 70 ... 65 60... etc. Sure enough, stopped at 40.

Alphabet? Well, I "slurred" a couple letters. How the hell they give THAT test to a Southerner I'll never know. I've got some hick in me, sue me. Dead straight sober I pronounce some letters a little wrong. I cannot prounounce the letter "J" to save my ass and my damned name is "Justin" Some people think I'm "Yustin" on occasion.

Did I walk a straight line and count out 9 steps and turn around on my left foot and walk back fine? Yep, but I didn't "count outloud" -- fucking hell. You tell me to count, I count in my head. I got the instructions wrong -- which is what they're looking for!

How the hell they expect somebody to focus on a pen as they move it side to side while standing in front of a damned cop car with it's flashers on is beyond me. They DON'T expect you to be able to do this and you don't have a damned leg to stand on if he says your eyes "jiggle" a little bit while giving the test. You WILL fail that one, unless you decide you want to train for such an event.

Somehow after they asked me if my buddy could take the car to his place after I was going to be arrested HIS ASS blows a 0.03. I'm not sure if the cop was being nice to me and purposely fucked up the test of if they're incompetent because THAT son of a bitch was DRUNK. He FELL OVER when he got outta the car! While on the way downtown he asked me why HE wasn't driving and I told him that guy was flat out drunk. You can't drink 4 long island ice teas and blow a 0.03. No way in HELL.

Blew a .18 on the scene. More f-ed up than I thought I was obviously. We get to the station and I blow a .20 there on the official machine. At that point I know I'm going to jail and getting reamed in court. They tell me to do it again less than 60 seconds later so I get the biggest pile of spit in my mouth I can. WTF do I care if they don't like it? I'm going to jail anyway. I gave that SOB one hell of a mouthful of spit and it comes out .16. I walk away from the machine again and am grabbed by the arm and instructed to do it again.

If I had refused at this point I coulda walked it seems. Not familiar with the regulations in Michigan on the matter though I do it again, less spit this time (no time to build it up) and I do a .18.

See, blowing a .20 and a .16 within that short of time span would indicate in a court of law that the machine was off, or just plain not working with my body. I do have some God awful big lungs, so I know these tests are horrid for me. When I'm in shape I've been able to hold my breath for over 4:30. That's what a big set of lungs'll do for you. It also means by the time you've emptied them out that last bit of air has been sitting down there for a while and picking up more alcohol than a normal person.

Learned my lesson though.

Posted by: Justin Buist on August 25, 2004 10:32 PM

I was pulled over at a sobriety checkpoint one night about 1:30 am. They gave me that stupid breathalyzer to blow in. I couldn't do it. I tried three times. When they asked me where I'd been, I explained to them I'd just worked a double shift and I was just to darn tired. I was on my way home from work. They let me go. Boy, was I surprised they believed me!

Posted by: Denise on August 26, 2004 02:44 AM

Oy. I believe that if you refuse the field sobriety test in Washington or Oregon, you automatically loose your licence for a year (but I could be wrong).

Stoney~ I'm not sure what jail you went to, but the jail I was in definitely did NOT serve a good breakfast!

Justin~ It sounds like you are at the beginning of the whole long process. Good luck! I recommend that you take the jail time rather than go through a treatment program. In the long run, it's much easier. I've known people who've done both, I've done the me, jail is better.

Acidman~ Yeah, the drunk test is really fucked up. Very few people could do it sober, and they know that. It's all about the money!

Posted by: DogsDon'tPurr on August 26, 2004 05:13 AM

Cop asked me to recite my alphabet backwards, I told him "you first."
He wouldn't do it and he let me go.

You're right, Rob... that shit is hard enough to do sober.

Perhaps you should only take the field sobriety test if the cop takes it at the same time.

Posted by: Rob @ L&R on August 26, 2004 08:04 AM

I beg to (sort of) differ. Yep, your average field sobriety test is unpassable bullshit for a sharp, alert, sober young guy. (See the movie, "The Man with Two Brains") How. Ever. One time a year or so ago, I was riding my bicycle back from the 7-11 about a quarter-mile away. I had had a few, and intended to have more. I decided to go get some more while I was still competent to go out in public, even though I still had some I hadn't drunk. Went to the 7-11, the staff was happy to sell me a 6-pack. (They obviously thought I was not so illegally drunk that they should have refused to sell to me.)
Went to the stoplight on the Trail (US 41) and pushed the button to make the light change. Sho'nuff, as soon as the light turned red the usual Fl yankees got all upset about having to stop for a red light. They did actually stop that time.

My mistake? I shot the finger at the yahoo who was very angry at having to stop for the red light. Turned out he was a local cop, of the most possibly thuggish young annoying skinhead type. He tried to lie to me , as an excuse for fucking with me, that my bicycle was not legally lit. At that time, I think I may have had the only legally lit bicycle in this benighted town. Fortunately, another more reasonable and human-like cop (with hair) arrived and gave me the nystagmus test. After I followed his Papermate with my eyeballs he let me go with a stern warning about the Marchman Act. Actually, I think he was just trying to save the face of his skinheaded thug colleague, who was so upset at having to stop for a red light.

A bicycle is a sobriety test in itself, if you think about it.

Posted by: Justthisguy on August 27, 2004 02:29 AM
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