Being charged with drunk driving can be a confusing experience. You may not be sure what your rights are or what you need to do to protect them. Understanding Maryland and Washington D.C. DUI laws can help you better comprehend the limitations of law enforcement and what you can actively do to reduce the chances that you will be arrested or charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. Here’s what you need to know about field sobriety testing, and what to do if you are arrested and charged with a DUI in Maryland.
What Are Field Sobriety Tests?
Field sobriety tests are specific physical tests that can be used by a law enforcement officer at the scene of an arrest to generally determine if an individual is intoxicated. However, field sobriety tests rely heavily on the observations and opinions of the arresting officer, meaning that there’s a lot of room for judgment error. Many medical conditions and other factors can negatively affect the way an individual performs on field sobriety tests, even without being intoxicated.
What Field Sobriety Tests Do Police Officers Usually Conduct At the Scene of an Arrest?
The most common field sobriety tests are the Walk and Turn test, the One Leg Stand, and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. The officer will be evaluating whether you can walk heel-to-toe in a straight line and stand on one leg without weaving, stumbling or falling. He or she may also ask you to follow a light with your eyes, and they will be looking for nystagmus, where the eyes shake or jerk. However, this test is highly inaccurate and has been discredited by the medical community as an effective way to determine intoxication, yet it still continues to be used frequently by law enforcement.
You Have the Right to Refuse Field Sobriety Tests
Something many people aren’t aware of is that you have the right to refuse field sobriety testing…and you should. You are not required by law to complete field sobriety tests, and doing so could give the officer ammunition against you, even if you aren’t intoxicated. Politely decline field sobriety testing and let the officer who pulled you over know that you’re aware of your rights to decline that specific form of testing.
Contact an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one have been arrested or charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, it is critical that you take action right away and contact a seasoned DUI attorney in your area. John Adams is an experienced lawyer who can vigorously defend you against drunk driving charges, and he is available now to take your case. Call for a consultation at 410-268-2233 or 301-870-0330.