In Pennsylvania as in other states, the method used to determine whether a driver is intoxicated is called a field sobriety test. There are various tests used by police officers to indicate whether a person is sober or intoxicated. These tests are done at the time of the traffic stop by the officer on the scene. These tests are typically done after an officer detects aspects of your behavior or physical status that could be a sign of drinking. The purpose of a field sobriety test is to assist the police officer in determining whether you are intoxicated or otherwise impaired. Field sobriety tests are done at the discretion of the officer.
Three Field Sobriety Tests
If you are stopped and suspected of possible DUI, the officer may ask you to participate in one or more field sobriety tests. This is often done after the officer observes a behavior that he associates with DUI (such as weaving or curb-hugging). The officer may also ask you to perform field sobriety tests if he smells alcohol on your breath.
There are three main tests that drivers are usually asked to perform.
- One-legged stand test
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus test
- Walk a straight line test
The Breathalyzer Test
A breathalyzer is a machine that measures your BAC based on your breath. The machine is often located at the police station, where you will be brought after your arrest. The BAC (blood alcohol content) is a measurement of the percentage of alcohol in your bloodstream. In Pennsylvania, the legal limit is 0.08 percent. If you are found to have a BAC of .08 percent or higher you will be charged with DUI. It is important to keep in mind that breath tests are not always administered properly and the results are not always correct. Additionally, the results could be invalid based on when you took the test after your arrest.
Field Sobriety Test Results
In many cases, the police officer may not tell you specific details about your DUI arrest. This is why it is essential to get assistance as soon as possible from an experienced DUI attorney. An attorney who specializes in DUI cases knows the latest laws and understands how the system works. He will immediately work to reduce or eliminate some of the charges against you. Then, he will review the results of your field sobriety tests and breath or blood tests to see if there were any inconsistencies with the results. He will also review any video taken of your traffic stop and arrest. Your lawyer will develop an optimal defense based on the specifics of your case.
Getting Legal Help after Failing a Field Sobriety Test
Choose an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. The attorney will immediately help you with your first court appearance – that includes charges against you and setting bail. Your lawyer will guide you through the legal process and will work diligently to implement a solid defense.
Call the Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis today (215) 543-6566 for a free consultation or complete our contact form.