Cops are people too, and that means many of them enjoy a good laugh just as much as the next person and appreciate a bit of levity or a good joke to lighten a rough day. But there are times and places where mucking about is totally appropriate, and times when it’s best just to follow protocol and not try to inject your own personal brand of humor into a situation. And the roadside sobriety test is a pretty good example of one of those times.
Roadside circus antics didn’t help one Madison Heights man…
A classic example of how goofing off won’t help your case comes from the Metro Detroit area, where Sterling Heights Police pulled a man over for a suspected DUI, and asked him if he’d been drinking. The man, named Michael Axelson from Madison Heights, was desperate to prove to the officer that he wasn’t drunk (despite a BAC of almost three times the legal limit!), and so when asked if he was willing to perform a roadside sobriety test, the man volunteered an entirely unasked-for gymnastics act. He did the splits simply to prove that his legs were working fine!
The officer’s dashcam captured the entire exchange!
The dashcam mounted in Lt. Mario Bastianelli’s patrol car shows the officers approaching Axelson’s vehicle and asking for his license and registration, neither of which he had with him. They then asked him if he’d been drinking, to which Acelson answered, “Not enough where I shouldn’t be driving, sir.” (At least he was polite!) But the officers, who say they could smell alcohol on the driver’s breath, asked him if he would be willing to step out of the vehicle and do a few roadside tests to prove his intoxication level.
The first and second mistakes…
Right then, he made his second mistake. (His first mistake was getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking). That critical second mistake was agreeing to participate in the field sobriety tests. The Kronzek Firm often advises our clients to not agree to do those tests. Refusing field sobriety tests is perfectly legal and a drive cannot be penalized for refusing to do them.
But even a gymnastic display didn’t save him from jail!
Axelson agreed after a good deal of incoherent mumbling, and when the cops asked if he’d ever sustained a leg injury, he unnecessarily proved his flexibility by doing the splits! The officers agreed that the display was very impressive, but it certainly didn’t help his case. He was arrested and charged with Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated, and Driving with a Suspended License. Because this is Axelson’s eighth DUI, he is also likely to be charged as a repeat offender, which carries very serious felony consequences.
Stick to the routine, and be polite when dealing with the cops.
The cops aren’t likely to skip out on arresting you for drunk driving just because you cracked a few jokes, cried about your personal problems, or included a little physical humor in your roadside sobriety test. And if your antics are belligerent or viewed as threatening in any way, that can make a bad situation worse for you very quickly. So remember – when you get pulled over for suspected drunk driving, be polite, don’t offer any information beyond what you’re legally required to provide, and know your rights! And then, if the interaction results in an arrest, call us as soon as you are able!
The Kronzek Firm can help when it comes to DUI arrests and charges.
Here at The Kronzek Firm, our skilled DUI defense attorneys have many decades of experience defending the people of Michigan against drunk and drugged driving charges. We’ve been able to achieve enormous success on behalf of our many clients over the years, having charges dropped and dismissed, and having serious charges greatly reduced. If you’re facing a DUI and you’re worried about your future, call 866 766 5245 and talk to our experienced DUI defense attorneys. We’re available 24/7 to help, and can help by protecting your rights and fighting for your freedom.