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Do I Have to Submit to a Field Sobriety Test?

Posted on in Driving Under the Influence

Stamford, CT DUI defense lawyerAnyone who has ever been stopped by law enforcement on suspicion of driving under the influence can likely attest to how intimidating it is, even if you have not had anything to drink. Knowing what your rights are in the event this ever happens to you can go a long way in the actual outcome of your case if you are charged with drunk driving.

Field Sobriety Tests

Under Connecticut’s implied consent law, when a person accepts a driver’s license issued by the state, they are essentially agreeing to submit to a chemical test to determine what their blood alcohol concentration is if they are stopped by police. If you refuse that test, then your driver’s license will be suspended by the state, regardless of what the final outcome of any criminal DUI charges is. If it is your first offense, your license will be suspended for one year. A second offense results in a two-year suspension, and a third or subsequent offense means a loss of license for three years.

Police also use field sobriety tests to determine if a driver is under the influence, but these tests do not fall under the state’s implied consent law and drivers do have the right to refuse to submit to them. In fact, because these tests are so subjective, based on the officer’s personal opinion, it is recommended that a driver politely refuse any suggestion by police to submit to the tests.

These three tests have been standardized by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus test (HGN) – For this test, the officer has the driver track an object (typically the top of a pen) with their eyes while keeping their head still. If a person is intoxicated, there will be an involuntary jerking motion or vibration of the driver’s eyes.

  • One leg stand – The driver stands on one leg while keeping their other foot at least six inches off the ground. The officer will also instruct the driver to count off in seconds, usually up to 30, with the purpose of checking the driver’s balance.

  • Walk and turn test – This is another balance check test, but also checks the driver’s ability to follow directions. The officer instructs the driver to walk heel to toe for nine steps and then turn around and take nine steps back, heel to toe, all while counting the steps out loud.

Call a Stamford, CT Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested for drunk driving, it is important to have a skilled Fairfield County DUI lawyer defending you against these charges and working to get the best outcome possible based on the circumstances of your case. Call Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner at 203-348-5846 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

Sources:

https://www.cga.ct.gov/2000/rpt/2000-R-0873.htm

https://portal.ct.gov/dmv/licenses-permits-ids/license-suspension/driving-under-influence?language=en_US