A DUI lawyer in Henrico talks about field sobriety tests, which are tests used to determine the ability of an individual to drive or operate a vehicle. The officers will use these tests to determine the level of intoxication or impairment. They will also use these tests to support probable cause for an arrest.
The tests do not need to be administered in a certain order. However, they do have to be administered according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requirements. There are three basic tests to determine impairment and to determine probable cause for an arrest:
So the officers have to show that they conducted these tests correctly and in accordance with the required standards. Sometimes if we can show that they were not done in accordance with these standards, we can have a case or we can develop an argument to challenge probably cause for an arrest challenge.
The horizontal the gaze nystagmus test is a test where an officer will hold a pen in front of your eyes and also use a light to track your eyes. What they will do is watch your eyes to determine if there is any involuntary jerking which can be exacerbated if you are intoxicated. Alcohol or drugs can also affect the ability of your eyes to track a moving object.
The walk and turn test is used to determine your coordination and balance but also your ability to comprehend instructions. The officer will ask you to take several steps in a straight line and then turn and walk back to the start. These tests are what is referred to as divided attention tests that are used to measure both your coordination and your ability to follow specific directions.
The one-legged stand test is where you are told to stand upright with your arms up and to lift one foot from six to 12 inches off the ground and hold that position for as long as you can. Again this test is used to measure both your coordination and your ability to follow specific directions. Obviously failing these tests are a good indicator of impairment.
These tests could be very important in determining impairment levels. These tests are used to determine probable cause for an arrest, in other words, did the officer have enough reason to arrest you based on how your performance and did the officer have reason to believe you were impaired. So your performance on these tests, or lack thereof, will be a significant role in your arrest or further prosecution.
The officers in Henrico County don’t necessarily use these tests in a unique way. However what they will also use are additional tests in Henrico, like the ABC or counting tests. While these aren’t sanctioned by the national transportation board, the officers use these to determine your ability to comprehend instructions and to get a grasp of your speech. If you cannot follow the instructions by the officer and your speech is stammered or slurred in reciting the number or the alphabet, the officer will use it in determining probable cause.
You can refuse to perform these tests and it will not be used against you. Again, you can refuse to perform the field tests as well as the field sobriety machine test or PBT. However, if you are arrested and refuse the blood alcohol machine at the station, you will be charged with refusal.
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