Frederick Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests are tests that are established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to evaluate a person’s motor skills and determine whether or not they are considered in a position to operate a motor vehicle safely. These tests include a horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which is a test that is done with a person’s eyes, a walk-and-turn test, and a one-legged stand test. All of these tests are just factors that are used in determining whether or not a person’s motor skills have been impacted by alcohol consumption, and officers often make determinations based on the results that they see, comparing them to clues that are outlined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in helping them determine if an arrest is appropriate. For more on field sobriety tests, contact a knowledgeable Frederick DUI attorney today.
Horizontal Gaze Test
The horizontal gaze test is a field sobriety test in Frederick where the officer asks a person to follow a light or a pen or some other stimulus with their eyes, usually left to right, up and down, to determine whether nystagmus exists within their eyes and also determine whether or not they are able to follow instructions properly and understand the officer in a coherent way.
The walk-and-turn test is a test where the officer is testing a person’s motor skills as well as their ability to follow instructions, usually asking a person to take several steps in one direction, turn around, and take several steps back. These are on an imaginary line on the road with their feet positioned heel to toe on each step.
The one-legged stand test is a Federick field sobriety test where the officer asks an individual to raise their foot off the ground while keeping another foot stationary to make sure that the person is able to follow instructions and also to determine what abilities a person has to balance themselves on one foot for an extensive period of time.
How Tests Are Administered
The tests usually are administered on the side of the road on a flat surface level that is free of debris. The officers are supposed to give people who are wearing uncomfortable footwear, such as high heels, the option to take their shoes off if they would like to but the order that these tests are done in is usually in no specific order but whatever the officer feels is appropriate on the side of the road.
Weight of Frederick Field Sobriety Tests in DUI Trial
These tests are treated pretty significantly in a DUI trial especially when there is no breathalyzer test to work with. These tests, an odor of alcohol, and a person’s bad driving are usually all that the court has to make their determinations on a person’s sobriety. This means that how a person performs on these tests is extremely important, which is why it is also equally important that a person makes sure that the officer is aware of anything that might have impacted their ability to perform such as injuries, medications, and things like that.
Refusing to Perform Field Sobriety Tests
A person always has the right to refuse to perform standardized field sobriety tests but they do deal with the possibility of some consequences, including immediate arrest and a judge potentially taking into account the fact that a person refused their test because they believe that they would fail those tests. However, those tests and presumptions are very easily rebutted if a person equips their defense attorney with materials or information to show why they might have been unable to take those tests because of injuries that they have sustained to their leg, ankles, knees, lower back, or feet. Consult with a professional lawyer for more on Frederick field sobriety tests.