A Florida man told the cops he wasn't taking a DUI sobriety test, because "I done seen it on the MythBusters," reports TC Palm.
Thirty-five-year-old Dustan Edward Carpenter was stopped shortly after 11:00 p.m. after police spotting his Ford Focus traveling without its headlights on. Deputies say the man smelled of booze and told them that he just came from Applebee's and had one beer.
His slurred speech, mumbled speech, and bloodshot eyes suggested that he drank quite a bit more.
When the deputies asked Carpenter if he was willing to take a sobriety test, the man took to citing the authority of Mythbusters in not taking the test. If you're not familiar with Mythbusters, it's a television show that tests "myths" like whether beans make you fart (truth), whether booze makes you find people more attractive (unclear), and whether the color red makes bulls angry (myth).
Apparently, Carpenter also remembered that Mythbusters tested DUI sobriety tests and whether a driver can refuse them (truth). However, Carpenter may have also remembered that you can simply refuse a sobriety test and face no negative consequences (myth).
If Carpenter's memory of Mythbusters is a little fuzzy, that can easily be explained by the fact that the television show never aired an episode regarding DUI field sobriety tests used by law enforcement, reports TC Palm.
A field sobriety test, such as walking in a straight line or touching your nose, is one of three types of tests that police can use to help determine if a driver is drunk. The other types are breath tests and blood tests.
While a suspected drunken driver can legally refuse a field sobriety test, police can require a chemical breath test or blood test for alcohol. Under "implied consent" laws in all 50 states, licensed drivers automatically give consent to undergo chemical tests if they're suspected of DUI. If you refuse such a test, you could face a driver's license suspension even if you're acquitted of the DUI.
Additionally, if your case does go to trial, the prosecutor could tell the jury that you refused to take the chemical test, which may look bad for your drunken driving defense.
[Editor's Note 9/24/12: This post was clarified to explain that implied consent laws cover chemical tests for alcohol, not field sobriety tests.]
- Dustan Carpenter's Sobriety Test Refusal: 'I Done Seen It On The MythBusters' (Huffington Post)
- DUI (FindLaw)
- Top 5 Strangest Vehicles People Have Driven Drunk (FindLaw's Legally Weird)