Getting stopped by a police officer while driving one’s car can be a scary experience, especially if the officer made the stop based on suspicion of drunk driving. As previously discussed on this Illinois criminal defense legal blog, Belleville residents can pay dearly if they are convicted of DUI crimes. Before a person heads to court to be tried for driving under the influence, however, the police officer that makes the initial stop may subject the driver to a variety of coordination tests to assess their sobriety.
These tests are called field sobriety tests and this post will briefly discuss three common tests that law enforcement officials use. A driver may be subjected to other tests or inquiries, though, and as such individuals with DUI defense questions should speak with their criminal defense attorneys.
One test officers do in drunk driving cases is the horizontal gaze nystagmus. In this test a driver is asked to move his eyes so that the officer may assess any erratic or unusual movements. The second test is known as the walk and turn test. In this test the driver is asked to move in a straight line and the officer assesses any balance or coordination issues in the driver’s effort. The third test is the one-leg stand which is exactly what it sounds like. A driver is asked to pick one foot up off the ground and balance on the other, thus testing his balance and coordination.
If a driver fails one or more of the field sobriety tests mentioned in this post, the results may be used as evidence of intoxication for the driver’s arrest. However, failing a field sobriety test does not necessarily mean that a conviction is guaranteed. There are a variety of physical impairments, illness and rationales that may explain why a sober individual was unable to perform the tests asked of them during a suspected DUI stop.
It is important for drivers to remember that they have rights when they are facing suspicion of driving while drunk. After a DUI arrest, many individuals in this difficult legal situation choose to speak with criminal defense attorneys to prepare themselves for their upcoming trials.