If a driver is suspected of drinking and driving, they may be pulled over by law enforcement and asked to participate in a series of physical tests. These are known as field sobriety tests. The purpose of the tests is to determine if a driver is intoxicated and gather evidence in order to arrest them for driving under the influence (DUI). If you were charged with a DUI, it is important to retain the services of an experienced Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney for help with your case.
Examples of Field Sobriety Tests
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standardized three tests that are most commonly used on the side of the road. This includes the following:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test: When the driver is asked to track the officer’s pen, finger, or flashlight with just their eyes and not moving their head. The officer is looking for a jerking motion in the eye, known as Nystagmus.
- Walk and Turn Test: The driver has to stand with their right foot in front of their left with their arms at their sides. They then must walk heel to toe for every step and turn properly.
- One Leg Stand Test: When the driver stands on one foot and counts to 30. If the driver loses their balance or does not count correctly, it may be a clue to intoxication.
Can I Refuse Sobriety Tests?
In Pennsylvania, drivers do not technically have the “right” to refuse roadside testing. However, they cannot be forced to take the test. It is because of this that they are able to do so anyway, but this means the refusal can be admitted by the prosecution in court as evidence against the driver. This can be used to assume that the driver was hiding something. When in these situations, drivers should only participate in field sobriety tests if they were positively not drinking. It is important to know that this does not fall under implied consent, so their license cannot be suspended for refusing roadside testing.
How Are the Tests Standardized?
The official name of these roadside tests is Standard Field Sobriety Tests. This means that there is a correct way that they must be administered. If an officer incorrectly does so, the results cannot be used as evidence against a driver in court.
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Attorney Newman has represented clients in Pennsylvania for over 45 years. If you need an experienced attorney to help guide you through the personal injury claims process or with any criminal defense matters, Attorney Newman is ready to help. Contact The Law Office of Neal E. Newman today to schedule a consultation.