Field Sobriety Tests are a battery of tests that an officer will use to try to gauge your level of intoxication after you are stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence. Field Sobriety Tests often known as the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests are based upon controlled studies done over 20 years ago by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which is a division under the Department of Transportation. There are certain standardized Field Sobriety Tests and these are:
(1) Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test (also known as the HGN)
(2) Nine Step Walk and Turn test
(3) One Leg Stand test.
Below is more information on these tests, to learn more or to discuss your case, call and schedule a consultation with a Loudoun County DUI lawyer.
Depending on the jurisdiction and the facts and circumstances of your case you may have a defense that the Field Sobriety Test was not administered in a proper way. These tests must be done according to the rules established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, certain jurisdictions allow more leeway in the officer’s decision-making process in the administration of the tests.
At a DUI trial the performance on a Field Sobriety Test is important and weighed appropriately. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, they may be weighed more heavily than other factors. Other factors that are weighed against the Field Sobriety Test include the driving behavior and breath test if one is obtained. The way you would weigh your Field Sobriety Tests depend on a variety of factors.
Every law enforcement officer uses the Field Sobriety Tests differently. In addition to the standardized Field Sobriety Tests, it is not uncommon for individual officers to have other tests that they offer in order to improve their case. Some of the other tests that may be offered include finger dexterity test, alphabet test, reverse counting test. While these tests are not controlled by standardized guidelines, they certainly assist the officer in finding facts to determine if a driver is potentially impaired.
You can absolutely refuse to perform Field Sobriety Tests in Loudoun County and you absolutely should.
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