In the 1970s, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration backed a series of studies to determine scientifically validated ways to identify intoxication. According to the American Automobile Association, the resulting battery of tests identified 90 percent of inebriated drivers correctly in a subsequent study.
Despite their purported effectiveness, though, standardized field sobriety tests provide purely subjective results. Additionally, FSTs may identify sober people as intoxicated if they have certain medical conditions.
If police have accused you of driving under the influence based on your performance during a field sobriety test, a criminal defense lawyer will help you explore your options and defend your rights every step of the way. Contact Darren DeUrso, Attorney at Law to discuss your case with a DUI attorney in White Plains.
Mr. DeUrso has been defending clients for more than three decades. Call 914-772-8614 to schedule a consultation.
Read on to learn about the three standardized field sobriety tests that police often conduct during traffic stops:
- The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
When people look to the side at an angle greater than 45 degrees, it is natural for the eye to twitch involuntary. Individuals who are under the influence of alcohol will exhibit a much more exaggerated twitch, and it will occur even when the angle of the sideways glance is less than 45 degrees.
During the horizontal gaze test, police are looking for this twitch, or nystagmus, because if it is exaggerated, it could be indicative of inebriation. Officers conduct the test by holding a light or a pen up and having the suspect follow it with his or her eyes as they move it from side to side.
- The Walk and Turn Test
The walk and turn test gives police the opportunity to assess a suspect’s balance, coordination, and focus. During this test, police ask motorists to take a certain number of steps in one direction while touching their heel to their toe with every step. Once this portion is complete, the motorist must turn around and take the same number of steps back to the vehicle.
- The One-Leg Stand Test
The one-leg stand test assesses stability, coordination, and concentration. For this test, police ask suspects to stand on one leg and count to 30. If you sway, hop, or put your foot down while performing this task, the officer may consider it a sign of inebriation.
Any evidence that police gather while conducting field sobriety tests is typically admissible in court; however, the tests themselves are voluntary, and there are no legal consequences of refusing to take them. If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, on the other hand, you will face a license suspension and a fine, regardless of whether you are actually convicted of DWI.
If you are facing charges for driving under the influence, turn to Darren DeUrso, Attorney at Law to discuss your circumstances with a skilled DUI attorney. Mr. DeUrso can help you devise a comprehensive defense based on the particulars of your case.
Call 914-772-8614 to schedule a consultation with a criminal defense lawyer in White Plains. You can learn more about DUI laws in New York by visiting the USAttorneys website.