When Roadside Sobriety Tests Go Wrong

We’ve all seen the humiliating, yet hysterically funny DUI videos when a suspect is happily singing along the side of the road for the cops, or otherwise chatting up the police officers who are busy gathering tons of evidence to use against that person in the soon to be splashed across the Internet DUI case.

Really, if the police pull you over for anything, it’s best to try to control yourself and have inhibitions, especially if you’ve been pulled over on suspicion of DUI. This is the absolute worst time to do anything other than provide your name while being polite to the police officers in question.

You Do Not Have to Take a Field Sobriety Test in PA

In Pennsylvania, you are not obliged to perform a field sobriety test if you are pulled over by an officer who suspects that you have been driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. This means that you do not have to obey the police and allow yourself to be tested on the side of the road for balance and coordination, just because they ask you to perform these tests.

Field Tests and Their Challenges to Even the Most Sober of People

Field sobriety testing (FST) allows law enforcement officials to ask you to do things that are difficult even for the most agile of people who have not been drinking. For example, there is the standing on one leg test. In this situation, you will have to balance on one leg, with the other up off the ground at least six inches. And you must count out loud for at least 30 seconds. It’s like doing Yoga on the street only in front of a police officer who is focused on finding something wrong enough to arrest you on suspicion of DUI.

If you sway while trying to balance, use your arms, or hop or put your suspended foot down instead of keeping it up in the air, the officer may take this as an indication that your ability to drive has been impaired by alcohol.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test In addition to the one-leg-stand test, there is the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test. In this test, you will be asked to keep your head still while your eyes follow the track of an object such as a fingertip or flashlight. The police officer moves it to the left or to the right and f your eye jumps as it is moving or while it is either to the extreme right or to the extreme left, the officer takes this as an indication that you are alcohol-impaired.

Walk and Turn Test The officer asks you to take nine heel-to-toe steps like you were walking on a tightrope while counting aloud with each step. When you reach nine steps, you pivot on one foot and do another nine steps along with the counting. In this case, if you have difficulty following instructions or get one part wrong, the officer can use this as probable cause to arrest you on suspicion of DUI.

Arrested on Suspicion of DUI? Contact an Experienced DUI Defense Attorney

Please contact the Harrisburg, PA, law firm of Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP to schedule a free case evaluation with Roger Laguna or Laura Reyes Maloney: 717-233-5292. You may also contact us online.

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