DUI Dexterity Tests: What You Need to Know
If you have been pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence or DUI, you may be asked to take a field sobriety test.
Field sobriety tests (FSTs) or "Standardized Field Sobriety Tests" (SFSTs) are groups of three tests often used by police to determine if a driver is impaired in North Carolina.
Field sobriety tests assess balance, coordination, and other physical abilities that can be affected by alcohol or drugs.
What are the Most Common DWI Dexterity Tests?
"Obviously, things other than impairment can affect your performance on a Field Sobriety Test and frankly, police don't always test correctly."
- Danny Glover, OBX DWI Lawyer
The most common FSTs are the walk-and-turn test, the one-leg stand test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.
- The walk-and-turn test requires a person to take nine heel-to-toe steps in a straight line, turn around, and then take nine more steps (the correct number) back in the same direction.
- The one-leg stand test requires a person to stand on one leg for approximately 30 seconds while counting aloud.
- The horizontal gaze nystagmus test requires a person to follow an object with their eyes while keeping their head still.
It's important to understand, the training materials for Field Sobriety Tests stress the need for strict adherence to the established testing protocols by law enforcement officers.
Failure to administer field sobriety tests as approved comprises the validity of the results.
Nonstandard DUI Sobriety Tests
"Standardized tests are 'standardized' for a reason. They're often heavily relied upon to establish Probable Cause to Arrest and during the Reasonable Doubt phase of DWI trials."
- Danny Glover, DUI Defense Lawyer
In addition to standardized field sobriety tests, police officers may also use non-standardized tests such as reciting the alphabet or counting backward or forward.
There are other non-standardized tests that a police officer may conduct, such as:
- Finger Count Test / Finger Dexterity Test
- Finger to Nose
- ABCs without singing
- Direction of Travel / Route Inquiries
It is important to note that these tests are not "certified" standardized field sobriety test by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or "NHTSA."
They are not scientifically proven indicators of intoxication or impairment and can be difficult even for completely sober people.Are You Required to Take "Drunk Driving" Tests?
If you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI, it is important to remember that you have the right to refuse any field sobriety tests.
However, refusing these tests may be something the police officer may consider as part of the arrest decision.
Under the NC DWI laws, refusal of the AlcoSensor handheld breath test may be admissible in court and considered by law enforcement officers in determining Probable Cause to Arrest.
It is also important to remember that if you do choose to take any field sobriety tests, it is best not to argue with the officer administering them and not make any sudden movements or gestures that could be interpreted as aggressive behavior.
No matter what your situation is, we believe it's best to consult with an experienced Outer Banks Driving While Impaired attorney if you have been charged with DUI so they can advise you on how best to proceed with your case.What is an AlcoSensor?
An AlcoSensor is a handheld breath alcohol testing device that law enforcement officers in North Carolina may use to conduct preliminary breath tests.
The AlcoSensor is not considered an approved method of determining Blood Alcohol Content, but the results it provides can be used by police to help establish Probable Cause for an arrest.When is the Best Time to Hire a Lawyer?
It is important to hire an experienced attorney as soon as possible if you have been charged with a DWI in North Carolina.
An experienced lawyer will be able to review the evidence against you and determine what the best course of action would be for your case.
The sooner you contact an attorney, the better chance they may have of finding any weaknesses or mistakes in the case against you.
If you have been charged with DWI, seeking legal advice and representation from an experienced OBX DWI lawyer who understands North Carolina's DUI laws is a good idea.DWI First: Can You Get Jail Time for Your First Impaired Driving Charge in NC?
Yes, in North Carolina you can be sentenced to jail time for a first-time impaired driving offense. The length of the sentence depends on several factors, such as:
- Prior DUI conviction within 7 years
- Child in Car - Under 18 years old
- Accident Resulting in Serious Injury
- DWLR Impaired Revocation - License Revoked or Suspended due to prior impaired driving revocation
If convicted, you may face fines, court costs, imprisonment, revoked driver's license and other penalties. Additionally, you may be required to complete a substance abuse assessment ("DUI Assessment") alcohol education program and/or community service hours.
Having knowledgeable legal representation can make a huge difference in the outcome of your DWI case and is strongly recommended if you have been charged with impaired driving. An experienced DWI lawyer will be able to advise you on the best course of action and work to minimize the penalties associated with your offense (as may be possible).
Seeking legal advice is especially important if you are a repeat offender, as the consequences can be much more severe. Make sure your rights are protected regardless of your circumstances. Speak to an experienced DWI attorney who understands North Carolina's DUI laws.OBX Driving While Impaired Lawyer - Danny Glover Jr.
Danny Glover has been providing DUI defense to clients throughout the Outer Banks for more than 25 years and offers free consultations.
Contact us today if you have been charged with a DWI or related offense in North Carolina.
We are here to help you with any questions that you may have and help guide you through the process.
Remember, you are not alone and we are here to help.
Contact us today for a free consultation.