What To Expect In DUI Sobriety Tests .pdf
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It's one of a driver's worst nightmares: getting
pulled over for DUI suspicion. DUI, or driving under
influence, is a serious criminal offense in many
states. In Florida for example, penalties include but
are not limited to: possible incarceration, license
suspension, expensive fines, probation, community
service, DUI school, and vehicle impound.
Once you are pulled over, the law enforcer would typically ask you to
perform a breath analyzer check and a couple of sobriety tests. These
tests are meant to assess your normal cognitive responses and
reflexes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
has established three (3) standardized tests to determine someone's
impairment due to intoxication (whether by alcohol or drugs).
If ever you or a loved ares suddenly thrown into this situation, it's
important to remain calm and remember what these tests were
designed to do. Knowing that, you can beat these tests and pass for
The Horizontal Gaze
Nystagmus (HGN) Test
The law enforcer is likely to give this test first. The driver suspected
of DUI would be asked to watch a moving pen or flashlight. The
officer is checking for Nystagmus, which is the involuntary shaking
of the eyes. He or she is looking at the way an individual's eyes are
tracking the object. Things like jerkiness or a shake when the object
moves to the side spells trouble.
The NHTSA estimates this test to yield about 88% accuracy;
however, there are some people whose eyes simple behave that way
– even when sober. In those cases, this test is a big disadvantage.
The officer would ask a driver to walk a straight line,
using heel-to-toe steps, while looking down and
counting out loud. The driver must complete a total of
nine steps forward, pivot on one foot, then complete
another set of nine steps back. This test was designed
to measure for 'divided attention'. The more someone
drinks, the more divided their attention becomes.
Technically, the officer is looking for eight (8) common signs of impairment:
inability to keep balance, beginning before instructions are done, stepping off the
line, no heel-to-toe movements, using arms for balance, improper turn, incorrect
number of steps, and stopping midway to regain balance. It's crucial that you
follow the officer's directions carefully as that is part of the test as well.
The One-Leg Stand
This test is similar to the Walk-and-Turn as it measures your ability for
balance and concentration. The driver would need to stand on one foot, while
the other is raised approximately six (6) inches off the ground. The officer will
keep time for 30 seconds. He or she will look for signs of swaying, hopping,
using arms as balance, and putting your foot down.
Alcohol is said to highly impact the
hippocampus, that region of the brain
associated with memory. A person
who is intoxicated would have a hard
time remembering instructions. So
paying attention is vital before
performing these tests.
At the end of the night, test results are
still highly subjective. Remember that
the arresting officer is looking at things
you did WRONG; not the parts you did
right. In some instances, law
enforcement may videotape your DUI
arrest. If that's the case, contact your
DUI Attorney in Sarasota Florida
immediately so he can get a hold of
this substantial evidence.
Beat With Legal
DUI lawyers have the knowledge and skills in using sobriety tests for your
advantage. There are many reasons why plenty of people can't perform
said tests even when sober. It could be due to a medical condition, an
agitated mental state, or an underlying stressor. Whatever it is, your
criminal attorney is there to defend you and make sure your side of the
issue is heard.
As DUI arrests are
expensive in itself,
use that money
instead on getting
yourself the best
legal help available.