If an officer suspects a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the officer may ask the driver to perform field sobriety tests. A field sobriety test is a battery of tests a law enforcement officer conducts to determine whether or not a driver is impaired. If a person fails one or more of these tests, he or she may be arrested for a DUI.
It is crucial that you understand Omaha field sobriety tests and your rights at a DUI stop. Reach out to an accomplished DUI lawyer from the Berry Law Firm today.
Horizontal Gaze Test
The horizontal gaze test is used by law enforcement officers to evaluate the driver’s eyes for involuntary jerking or bouncing. The officer moves an object from one side to another in front of the person while observing their eyes. Of the field sobriety tests, the horizontal gaze test shows the most scientific validity when it comes to determining intoxication.
The walk-and-turn test is when a driver walks in a straight line with their feet heel to toe. The individual then makes a turn and walks heel to toe in a straight line back to the starting point. In this test, the officer is looking to see whether the person has difficulty balancing or turns incorrectly.
One-Leg Stand Test
The one-leg stand test requires the driver to stand with one leg about six inches off the ground for 30 seconds. The police officer observes the person for indicators of impairment such as swaying, hopping, and using the arms to maintain balance.
Administering Field Sobriety Tests in Omaha
The tests are administered following certain guidelines developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that must be followed during the administration of the Omaha field sobriety tests. Regardless of who gives the test, the instructions and scoring are the same. Most of the officers in the Omaha area are consistent in how they administer the field sobriety tests at DUI stops.
Refusing to Perform a Field Sobriety Test
A person could refuse to do a field sobriety test and there is no additional charge for doing so. A person may refuse for any reason without an additional charge. For instance, he or she could refuse for medical reasons. However, if the individual is convicted, his or her refusal to do the field sobriety test could affect the sentence given by a judge.
Challenging a Field Sobriety Test at Trial
At a DUI trial, if the individual can show that he or she did not fail the tests, an argument could be made that he or she was not impaired. These field sobriety tests are not an exact science when it comes to determining impairment. For instance, someone could argue that a medical condition was the reason he or she was unable to pass the tests.
If you have any questions regarding Omaha field sobriety tests and how an attorney could help you, call today. Let a seasoned DUI lawyer fight for your rights.