Montgomery County DUI Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests are tests that are given by a police officer usually on the side of the road, which is where the term ‘field’ comes from. The officer is trying to make determinations about a person’s motor skills and whether or not they might be under the influence of alcohol or some other substance that is impairing their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Montgomery County DUI field sobriety tests are one of the main deciding factors when law enforcement is determining whether or not to bring someone in on suspicion of a DUI offense. If an individual wants to know more about the validity of field sobriety tests and how they could impact their case, they should consult a qualified DUI lawyer that could answer their questions.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Tests and the Walk and Turn Test
The horizontal gaze nystagmus test is a test used by police officers as one of the standardized field sobriety tests. They test using some sort of a stimulus. Sometimes it could be the tip of a pen, sometimes it could be a light, or sometimes it could be a finger. They have a person follow that stimulus with their eyes in an effort to determine whether or not they are impaired or their ability to perform divided attention tests is intact when determining their safety to operate a motor vehicle.
The walk-and-turn test is a standardized field sobriety test that officers administer as part of the divided attention tests. It is used to determine a person’s balance and coordination in an effort to decide whether or not they are under the influence or impaired by alcohol or some other substance when they are behind the wheel of a vehicle.
One-Legged Stand Test
The one-legged stand test is a standardized field sobriety test that the officer is tasked with administering. A person is asked to balance on one foot to determine whether or not they are able to operate a vehicle safely. In this and all the field sobriety tests, the officers are looking for clues of impairment, which could have to do with a person’s balance, ability to follow instruction, or any other number of signs of lack of coordination that might give an officer concern as to whether the person is able to safely operate a motor vehicle at that time.
Do Field Sobriety Tests Need to be Administered in a Certain Way?
Law enforcement officers do not use Montgomery County DUI field sobriety tests in any unique ways. They are used in Montgomery County as well as in the rest of the country for the exact same purposes, which is to establish probable cause to place an individual under arrest. These tests need to be administered in a certain way. Each test has its own requirements for how they need to be administered. Officers use the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration manual, which is a system conveying the exact instruction that needs to be given as well as demonstrations that need to be given to individuals when they are tasked with performing standardized field sobriety tests.
The Weight of DUI Tests at Trial
The weight of Montgomery County DUI field sobriety tests at trial is significant because they help a judge or finder-of-fact determine whether probable cause existed for the officer to place an individual under arrest. Probable cause is usually the foundation for these tests to take place, including a breathalyzer, for more charges being alleged. Without probable cause, any subsequent action in a DUI is dismissed. How a person performs with respect to these standardized field sobriety tests is going to have a huge significance in how the matter is prosecuted or not prosecuted by the state.
Refusal of Field Sobriety Tests in Montgomery County
A person could refuse to perform Montgomery County DUI field sobriety tests under any circumstance if they choose. Field sobriety tests are not required. However, negative inferences could be drawn by the court as to the refusal and why that refusal was made. Those inferences could be rebutted by an attorney. If a person refuses to take a field sobriety test, their attorney might be inclined to present arguments to the court as to why. For example, maybe someone had an injury or an illness of some kind that would make it difficult for them to do this field sobriety test successfully. If an individual wants to know more about their rights with regards to refusing a sobriety test, they should seek the services of a knowledgeable DUI lawyer that could answer their questions.