People all over the world are familiarized with the dangers of driving while intoxicated, but many of them still tend to drink and then drive. Because of this problem, the federal, state and local governments are extremely focused on awareness campaigns that will further inform people about the consequences of getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. It is very significant to properly understand the personal and legal issues that will arise if you are accused of driving while intoxicated. If you are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, police officers have the right to pull you over and conduct a field sobriety test. Although it seems like everyone knows what a standardized field sobriety test is, many people have some misconceptions about this procedure. That is why, in this article, I’ll clear these misconceptions for you, in hope I’ll also raise your awareness about DWI.
Issuing a field sobriety test
There are many different sfst clues a police officer can look for to issue a sobriety test. If a law enforcements officer notices that you are maybe swerving in the lane or making sudden lane changes, he might assume you have been drinking and driving. Also, if you don’t use the turn signals correctly, or you fail to follow the traffic signs properly, you are showing signs that something is seriously wrong, and you aren’t cognizant of the rules of the road. An officer will also pull you over if you are speeding, showing signs of aggressive behavior or if some unusual activity is noticed in the vehicle.
Conducting a sobriety test
Sobriety test is carried out to aim a person’s level of sobriety through a series of tests meant to measure your cognitive ability, motor skills, and balance. Media portrays these tests as walking a straight line, reciting the alphabet backward, balance on one foot, etc. This is just a common misconception we have. None of the mentioned “tests” are used to measure your sobriety. In reality, there are three Standardized Field Sobriety Tests that can be done by a law-enforcement officer during the process of detecting possible intoxication in a (drunk) driver.
The three most accurate tests for detecting intoxication are:
• Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN test)
• Walk-and-Turn test (WAT test)
• One-Leg Stand test (OLS test)
Any of these field sobriety tests fail will probably give the officers the cause to make an arrest for DUI.
How do these three tests look like?
The HGN test is conducted to check for the horizontal jerking of the eyes, which occurs involuntarily under the influence of alcohol. A police officer will hold a pen or a finger in front of you, asking you to follow it with your eyes. If you are eyes aren’t moving smoothly, or if your eyes show pronounced jerking, you have failed the test. The WAT test is given in two phases in which the officer will instruct you what to do, while in the second phase, you’ll need to walk nine steps on a real or imaginary line, turn as instructed and make nine steps back to the starting position. If you can’t maintain your balance, miscount the steps, or in any fail to follow the given instructions, you have failed the test. Finally, during the OLS test you’ll be standing on one leg, counting out loud from 1 to 30 in a one-thousand format. If you start hopping, swaying or if you put your foot on the ground, you will be indicated with impairment.
How can a DUI attorney help you?
If you think the tests haven’t been properly administered, a DWI lawyer will come to your aid and properly evaluate the administration of the SFST’s. Schedule an appointment with a certified Wisconsin DUI defense attorney Nathan J. Dineen and get your free consultation immediately!