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How Field Sobriety Tests Are Used in Howard County DUI Cases
The Weight of Field Sobriety Tests At Trial
The weight of field sobriety tests at trial really depend on what’s happened subsequent to the test. If an individual elects to blow into a breathalyzer and provide a sample, then the field sobriety test will basically be used to establish that the officers had probable cause to request the breath test. Thus, the officer will need to show that they had a good reason to ask an individual to do a breathalyzer test.
Then, assuming that the breathalyzer test itself is admissible, or in other words that the operator is qualified, that the operator is present, and that the machine is shown to be properly tested and certified, then there’s generally no legal reason to suppress the test. In these situations, the test can go on to prove driving under the influence of alcohol per se, which is driving with a breath alcohol content of 0.08 or higher.
If an individual chooses not to submit a breathalyzer test, however, then the field sobriety tests take on a much greater significance. In those cases, the field sobriety tests are basically going to be the bulk of the state’s case. They’re going to be what the state is using to prove that the individual was impaired. So frequently, when an individual doesn’t do a breathalyzer test, the state will still try to prove that they were drunk or buzzed based on their field sobriety test. In those types of cases, field sobriety tests can be extremely significant.
How Field Sobriety Tests are Used in Howard County
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stipulates that the tests need to be conducted in the same manner whether they’re conducted in Howard County or Florida or Alaska or California. The tests need to be done the same way for them to be valid so there’s no nuance specific to Howard County in the administration of the field sobriety test.
Can You Refuse To Perform Field Sobriety Tests in Howard County?
You can and should refuse to perform field sobriety tests in Howard County.
There is no legal requirement to submit to field sobriety tests like there is to submit to a breathalyzer test at the station. There’s no legal penalty for refusing to submit to field sobriety tests. The only thing that an officer will do if you refuse to submit to field sobriety tests is probably arrest you. However once an individual performs field sobriety tests they end up arrested anyway and when they’ve done the field sobriety test, then usually, the officer will have more reason to justify the arrest after the fact. So you can and should refuse to do field sobriety tests in Howard County.