Field Sobriety Tests
The three main types of field sobriety tests performed in Massachusetts when stopped for a DWI/DUI/OUI are the:
- Walk and Turn
- One Leg Stand
- And Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
Each of these tests will be used by the prosecution against you in a court of law to charge you with a Massachusetts DUI. To successfully fight against these charges you will need an aggressive and effective Massachusetts DUI lawyer who is familiar with state laws and has a proven track record of providing legal representation to victims in need of DUI defense in Massachusetts.
Our DUI Lawyer Knows the Weaknesses of these Drunk Driving Tests
Walk and Turn
The walk and turn test is a two part test that uses cognitive and physical examination to determine if the defendant is in fact unsuitable to be operating a motor vehicle. During the cognitive portion of the test the police officer will demonstrate and verbally instruct the driver how he would like the test to be performed. The suspected DUI driver will be asked to stand still with feet together during this portion of the examination. The officer will make general observations about the stature of the driver and if he can follow the directions given during the first phase of the examination. During the physical portion of the test the driver will be asked to take nine steps down a straight line while walking heel to toe the entire time and counting his steps out loud with his arms by his sides. Once the driver reaches the end of the line he will have to make a 180 degree turn and walk back down the line in the same format as before. Some of the clues that the police officer is watching for to determine if the driver is drunk are:
- Stepping off the line
- Losing balance during instructions
- Failing to walk heel to toe
- Turning improperly at the end of the line
- Taking the wrong number of steps
- Using arms for balance
- Stopping at anytime during the test to regain balance
- Starting the test before instructions are finished
If you are pulled over for a Massachusetts DUI and you have been found to demonstrate at least two of these clues you are deemed to have failed this test. If this happens you will need to hire an experienced Massachusetts DUI lawyer to protect your rights and fight your case.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus to Determine DUI or Drunk Driving
This test is the least effective type of field sobriety test. A suspect will be asked to follow a small light from side to side only moving his eyes and not his entire head. If the suspect's eye begin to jerk it is believed that the driver has failed the test and the officer is given probable cause to arrest the driver for a DUI in Massachusetts. The reason this type of test is inadmissible in court is because there is many different things that can cause jerking eye movements and sometimes it can cause a mistaken DUI arrest. This is the kind of information that you Massachusetts DUI lawyer should be aware of so he can effectively break down the prosecutions case against you.
Stand on One Leg Test
Just like the walk and turn test the one leg stand test is a cognitive and physical performance evaluation. The driver is advised to stand off to the side with feet together and arms at side as the officer demonstrates and gives instructions on how to perform the one leg stand test. Once the demonstration is over and all the instructions have been given the officer will ask the driver to perform the one leg stand test to determine if he is unsuitable to be driving a motor vehicle. The test requires that the driver raise one foot 6 inches off the ground, putting it straight out in front of them and counting to 30 by thousands. Some of the clues that an officer will be looking for to determine if the driver is unsuitable to be operating a motor vehicle are:
- Hopping to keep their balance
- Using arms for balance
- And putting their foot down before the thirty seconds is over
If you perform at least two of these clues you are considered to have a blood alcohol content of .10 or more and will be arrested for suspicion of driving while under the influence.
Is the DUI Tests Mandatory in Massachusetts?
The Dui tests in Massachusetts are NOT mandatory. It is your right to refuse a field sobriety test but you may be making your case worse if you do. Most DUI lawyers will tell you it is better to fail a sobriety test and fight its validity in court than to refuse one completely. Refusing to take a field sobriety test just gives evidence to the arresting office and the prosecution. To fight a failed sobriety test in court you will need a skilled Massachusetts DUI lawyer who knows what he is doing and is familiar with DUI and state laws. Do not hire a regular lawyer, you should find a lawyer who specializes in Massachusetts DUI and can provide you with effective legal representation.
Contact a Massachusetts Drunk Driving Lawyer
If you have been charged with Drunk Driving (OUI, DUI, DWI) in Massachusetts or any other criminal offense, the ramifications may be far reaching. Do not hesitate to e-mail, contact us on our toll free line, or call the office to set up an appointment at 617-851-7155 with a