Being pulled over by a police officer can be a stressful experience. The officer may have stopped you because you have a brake light out that you didn’t realize, but now that he or she has stopped you, it is becoming evident that they think you are driving under the influence. What are your legal rights in these situations?
If you are ever charged with DUI, contact name of firm to find out how one of our skilled DUI attorneys can help defend you against these charges. In the meantime, the following is important information every driver should know.
The majority of law enforcement agencies use the following field sobriety tests to determine whether a driver is driving under the influence. A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded that these Standardized Field Sobriety Tests are the most effective.
The Walk and Turn
In the walk and turn test, the officer will ask the driver to walk in a straight line, heel to toe, for nine steps and then turn around and walk back to where the driver began the walk. Arms are kept to the side and the officer will usually tell the driver to count the steps out loud. This test is used to judge the driver’s balance and to see if they will stagger when they are walking.
One Leg Stand
The driver will stand with their legs together until the officer instructs them to life one leg off the ground, approximately six inches, and stand there for up to 30 seconds. This test is used to judge the driver’s balance and ability to follow directions.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
The officer will instruct the driver to follow a pen or finger with their eyes as it is moved side to side. As they are conducting this test, they are looking for any involuntary jerking of the eyes that happens when a person is under the influence of alcohol. The horizontal gaze nystagmus test results are considered the most reliable of the three field sobriety tests.
Drivers are not required to participate in field sobriety tests and refusing to so will not result in penalties against the driver in many states. Check with a DUI attorney in your state to find out what the laws are concerning refusal to do field sobriety tests during a traffic stop. However, even if your state is one that does not require to participate, it is likely that your refusal will result in the officer arresting you on suspicion of DUI.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence, contact an experienced DUI lawyer immediately.