One of the worst things that can happen to any driver is to be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, usually known as a DUI. Typically, drivers are charged with a DUI after failing a test given by the arresting officer. The following article looks at some important facts all drivers need to know regarding this subject.
Field Sobriety Tests
If you are stopped by an officer who suspects that you may be driving under the influence, they might decide to conduct one or more field sobriety tests. These are tests done at the scene that will test your coordination and balance, as well as other things relating to your level of sobriety. One common test is known as the walk and turn. The officer will ask you to walk a short distance in a straight line and then turn around and walk back to your starting point. Another frequently seen field sobriety test is having to stand on one leg and count to a certain number while maintaining your balance.
You will generally have the right to refuse a field sobriety test in most states, as long as you are over the age of 21. Many DUI lawyers recommend that you refuse these tests because, in most cases, when an officer decides to conduct a sobriety test they have already made up their mind to charge the driver and are just looking for evidence to support their decision. Check with an attorney to discover the relevant laws in your state.
Another very common DUI test is the breathalyzer. The officer will ask you to blow into a device that measures the amount of alcohol in your system based on your breath. If your blood alcohol content is above a certain level, then you are considered to be impaired and will be charged with a DUI.
Unlike the field sobriety test, in most states, you typically cannot refuse to take a breathalyzer test without serious repercussions. This is because the vast majority of states operate under a legal principle known as implied consent. This means that is far as the state is concerned, you gave your consent to be tested in this way when you applied for a driver's license.
Even if you fail one of these tests and are charged with a DUI, you can still challenge the results at your hearing and trial. For example, you may have a medical condition, such as acid reflux, that caused an inaccurate reading or perhaps you take a prescription drug that interferes with your ability to remain balanced for a sustained amount of time. To learn more about this topic, consult an experienced DUI lawyer.