The truth is, no matter what circumstances you are facing, you should never drive drunk. Some cities do not have much in the ways of transportation and you may not have many friends available to call every time you need a way home. However, if you have been drinking, your best bet is to not get behind the wheel of a car and risk your own life as well as all other lives of people sharing the roadways with you. If you have been caught driving drunk, the officer pulling you over may distribute something known as Field Sobriety Tests to determine whether or not you were drinking.
Field sobriety tests are also often referred to as roadside sobriety tests. Before a Breathalyzer test, these tests will usually be used as a way to make a determination of how drunk a driver is when caught driving. If there is suspicion in any way, the officer is permitted to use these tests on a driver. The tests are used as a way to observe a suspect’s balance, physical ability, attention level, and many other factors. Here are some of the most standard tests that are used:
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN): This is an involuntary jerking of the eyeball that occurs as the eyes gaze from side to side. However, in somebody who is intoxicated, the nystagmus will be exaggerated and may occur at lesser angles than normal. Somebody who is under the influence will generally have a difficult time smoothly tracking an object when an officer is moving it from side to side. In the test, an officer will take a pen and slowly move it horizontally in front of the eyes. They will observe the driver’s eyes to watch the nystagmus. There are three indicators that the driver may have a BAC of 0.08 or greater: The eye cannot follow a moving object smoothly, jerking is distinct, and the angle of onset jerking is prior to 45 degrees of center.
Walk-and-Turn: The driver must take nine steps, touching heel-to-toe, along a straight line. Then, the subject must be able to turn on one foot and proceed in the opposite direction. The officer will be looking for signs of impairment such as not being able to keep balance while listening to the instructions, stopping while to regain balance, using arms to balance, and many more.
One-Leg Stand: In this test, the driver will stand with one foot six inches off the ground and count aloud by ones beginning with one thousand until they are instructed to place their foot on the ground. This will go on for 30 seconds while the officer is timing them. The officer will try to make determinations such as swaying while balancing, using arms to balance, hopping to maintain balance, or putting down the foot prematurely.
Other DUI Tests
There are also non-standardized field sobriety tests that are sometimes used. These may include having to stand with feet together and tipping the head backwards, counting the number of fingers an officer raises, reciting the alphabet, counting backwards, and more.
Have you been arrested for a DUI? Do you have questions for us? Give us a call today at The Law Office of Peter Blair. We can help you with your case and help you retain your rights.