Divided-Attention Questioning in Your Milwaukee DUI Arrest

Even before the police officer administers a field sobriety test on you, you will have to face an interrogation by the officer. This line of questioning can be a test itself because the police officer will get the chance to identify any so-called “objective” signs of intoxication. In this article, the Milwaukee DUI lawyers at Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C. will explain the justifications that are given for pre-field sobriety test interrogations and divided attention questioning.

Why police interrogate before giving field sobriety tests:

1. To gauge physical impairment. The first reason that police use to justify interrogation is that prior to administering a field sobriety test, the police need to determine whether the person has any readily noticeable preexisting physical impairments that would impede upon performing a particular field sobriety test successfully. If, for instance, the person has a knee condition, the police officer should not give that person a field sobriety test that requires someone to balance on the legs.

2. To gauge mental impairment. The second reason that is given for the pre-field sobriety test interrogation is that by asking the person what the date and time it is, one can gauge the person’s mental impairment from alcohol consumption. Police use that fact to justify a similar line of questioning, which is to ask the person why they were stopped by the police.

3. To assess divided attention ability. The third reason is to determine the person’s divided attention ability, which is how well the brain performs multiple tasks at the same time. Impairment due to alcohol consumption will significantly decrease the divided attention ability. Officers justify the divided attention ability test because it supposedly measures the physical and mental multitasking skills that are needed to operate a vehicle.

Field sobriety tests and questions that measures divided attention

There are several field sobriety tests that require divided attention. Examples are the walk-and-turn test (which requires you to do a difficult physical task while simultaneously listening to and understanding complex instructions) and the one-leg stand test (which requires you to balance your whole body on one foot while simultaneously counting aloud by thousands).

In addition to field tests, the officer might ask questions that require divided attention. For example, the police officer might:

  • Ask for two things at the same time (such as your driver’s license and the car registration);
  • Ask questions that are full of distractions or interruptions; or
  • Ask strange or unusual questions.

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, do not hesitate to contact the dedicated Milwaukee DUI lawyers at Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C. today by filling out the form on this page. The initial consultation is free.