Can You “Pass” the Field Sobriety Test?
If a police officer suspects that you are under the influence of alcohol during a traffic stop, he or she will likely ask you to perform a series of field sobriety tests. While it may come as a surprise to drivers, in many cases, by the time a law enforcement officer has asked you to perform a field
Purpose of a Field Sobriety TestThe purpose of a field sobriety test is to determine whether a driver*s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely has been impaired by alcohol * and to gather evidence. Each test is initiated by the officer requesting that that the subject perform certain physical and mental tasks. In observing a field sobriety test, the officer will not just be watching how the driver performs the test, but also whether or not the driver follows all of the instructions provided.
Field sobriety tests are not usually *pass* or *fail,* in the traditional sense. Rather, they tend to provide law enforcement with further evidence supporting their assertion that a particular driver is under the influence of alcohol. For this reason, in many cases, it is in a driver*s best interest to refuse to perform a field sobriety test * even if it results in certain legal penalties.
Even a sober driver may perform poorly on field sobriety tests simply because of nervousness or unfamiliarity with the process, rather than from intoxication.
Types of Field Sobriety TestsThere are several different types of field sobriety tests which police officers use to measure driver intoxication. Typically, field sobriety testing involves the following:
* The horizontal gaze nystagmus * This test involves asking the test subject to follow an object as it moves across his or her field of vision. The person administering the test observes the subject*s eyes for twitching of the eye muscles that is associated with alcohol intoxication.
* The one-leg stand * In the one-leg stand, the subject is asked to stand with his or her foot about 6 inches from the ground while counting by thousands for 30 seconds. The officer observes the subject for signs of intoxication, including problems with balance and coordination.
* The walk-and-turn ** In the walk-and-turn test, the subject is asked to take nine steps, heel-to-toe, along a straight line, turn, and return in the same manner. During this test, the officer is observing the subject for signs of impairment, including his or her balance during the instruction, taking the right number of steps, and whether the subject uses his or her arms to keep balance while walking.
* PAS * Preliminary Alcohol Screening * This test involved you blowing into a portable breathalyzer. The officer will state it for purposes of determining the presence of alcohol. However, this test does provide a BAC reading. This can affect your case in terms of whether you were in the absorptive or eliminating phase.
Remaining CalmThere is no doubt that if you are being pulled over by a police officer * regardless of the reason * you will likely be nervous. One of the most important things to keep in mind is to try and stay as calm as possible throughout the entire process. When you are pulled over, you should remain seated and not exit your vehicle. You should also follow all of the police officer*s instructions carefully and answer the officer*s questions calmly and confidently. Also, officers do not hesitate to write into their report if you are being difficult or non-cooperative.
Talking to a DUI Criminal Defense AttorneyIf you are facing a DUI arrest or conviction, you are not alone. Most attorneys will schedule a free consultation and case evaluation. Make sure you call a seasoned attorney.