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Archive for February, 2013

Me vs. the FST (aka the Field Sobriety Test)

DUI checkpoint

 

On Super Bowl weekend, the boyfriend and I headed to San Diego to celebrate his birthday. He flew out to SD to hang out with his friends, and I drove down after work. It is important to note that I had already gone to Palmdale to do a site inspection at a jail. So that day had already had me driving over hundreds of miles.

We went to Pacific Beach and had dinner. I had a Maker’s and Ginger.

Then, we went to the boyfriend’s old hangout bar, where I had a beer.

Then we drove to our hotel, the Keating Hotel, in downtown San Diego.  On our way there, he is directing me back onto the freeway…straight into the midst of a DUI checkpoint.  I could have told the Officer that I was not drunk. But my bloodshot eyes told a whole different story. So, he ordered me out of the car, ordered Chris out of the car. Had one of minions drive away with my car, while I followed him to some elementary school’s parking lot.

He asks a lot of questions: from basic facts about myself, to where I went to, when the last time I went to sleep was, whether I went to work, etc…It was odd. So this is what it feels like to be at the other end of a deposition.  I answered all the questions he posed at me.

Then came the physical tests.

I had heels on, and it was bloody cold. He asked me to do that heel-toe walking test. While counting up to 60. I wobbled a couple times. Oh, and did I mention that due to my sobriety, I was actually nervous?

Then came the leg raise. I had to raise my leg about 8 inches off the ground and count backwards from 75-55. Luckily, I have pretty decent balance and did not wobble.

Then he ordered that I close my eyes, and look up at the sky, hands to the side. Then count silently to “what I think is thirty seconds.”  Really??? This was possibly the hardest one. With my eyes closed, there was no visual anchor for balance. With my heart racing, I might possibly count too fast…to what I think is 30 seconds. Sigh…so I count up to 35. Not too far over thirty that it’s suspicious, but not exactly thirty either, in case I’ve been counting a little too fast.

Then there was the “follow-my-finger-and-say-the-alphabet-without-singing-it” test. I really hope I passed that. I still had bloodshot eyes. But I did my best. He asked if I wore contacts. And I said yes. He nodded and jotted some more things on that clipboard of his.

In the meantime, I’ve observed at least four people get cuffed and taken away. And several cars towed away. Did I mention I was nervous? I mean, I knew I wasn’t drunk. But man, they really made me second-guess myself.

The final test was the breathalyzer.

That was one awkward test. Wrap your lips around the stick tightly and blow. Hard. I didn’t realize I needed to blow that hard. Long deep breath in, strong breath out.  I had to try it three times, definitely nervous because I had just finished my last beer approximately 25 minutes before.  In the meantime, I see another person get cuffed and taken away. Geeeeez.

I could see the boyfriend pacing back and forth like a caged animal in the little cordoned area where all the passengers were corralled.  Did I mention I was cold. My heart was pounding so fast, but I was sweating. I was shivering — but I couldn’t tell you if it was from nerves or the cold.

Mr. San Diego PD writes my breathalyzer score on the clipboard and he walks over to someone. He gives me back my keys and walks me towards Chris. Then he gives me the patronizing speech about how I’m a girl, and I retain more water and that I was “already half way there.”

Yeah, right. I blew an 0.02.

With that, I drive away.  Me vs. the FST…I win. This time. Hopefully, there’s no next time.

 

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