If you are pulled over for a DUI stop, then you should expect to be asked certain questions, and possibly be asked by the officer to perform sobriety tests or a preliminary breath test. You do not need to perform either of these tests, and you should know what these tests entail and how they can be used against you in court before you agree to do them.
If you have already been charged with driving under the influence, consult with a Norfolk DUI defense attorney to discuss your case.
The standardized field sobriety tests are coordination and agility tests that police officers give at the scene of a DUI in order to establish probable cause to make a DUI arrest. The most popular ones are the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which is an eye test where an officer holds a pen in front of the driver’s face and tells them to not move their face at all and just follow the pen with their eyes. If the eyes bounce or shake when the pen reaches the corner of the view then it’s an indicator to the officer that they’re under the influence.
Another popular test is the standing on one leg test where the drivers have to stand on one leg and count out loud for a certain period of time.
The third most common test is the walk one-line test which is when the officer asks the driver to take nine steps forward while counting each step out loud and then pivot and take nine steps back also while counting out loud. The driver’s feet must remain heel to toe in order for him to pass this test.
In Norfolk, there’s no legal penalty for refusing these tests. There are no consequences whatsoever for refusing, so no, you’re not required to take each test and you absolutely can refuse. The only thing these tests do is provide more evidence against you going towards a conviction for the DUI. So really the best thing to do is to refuse the test.
You do not need to consent to the search of your vehicle during the traffic stop. If there is no probable cause for a search then the officer is not allowed to search unless you have a search warrant or you provide consent.
Once a law enforcement officer arrests you for a DUI, they no longer need a search warrant or your permission. So it is irrelevant whether you consent or not as the officer is authorized to do what is called a search incident to arrest which gives permission to search your vehicle.
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