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How are field sobriety tests conducted?

As we have stated in previous posts, drunk driving remains a problem throughout the United States, including those living in and near the Lehighton, Pennsylvania area. While it is far easier for police to recognize speeders or those driving recklessly, one cannot necessarily tell if a driver is driving under the influence without an up close inspection. Often, a field sobriety test is conducted if an officer suspects someone of driving while drunk.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has created a series of tests called the Standard Field Sobriety Test for officers to ask suspected drunk drivers to perform to help determine whether a driver is inebriated. The test comes in three parts.

The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus is performed by an officer focusing on a driver's eyes, which may jerk while gazing from side to side. Exaggerated jerking of the eyes may be an indication of impairment. The walk and turn test many are familiar with; it is done by a driver walking in straight line, heel to toe and back. Balance is often affected by someone under the influence who is unable to perform this test, or the one leg stand. The one leg stand requires a suspect to stand on one leg with the other leg suspended about six inches off the ground for 30 seconds. All three can be used to help determine, up to 91 percent accuracy, whether a driver is drunk.

If you find yourself facing a drunk driving charge, it is important to understand the serious ramifications behind the charges. A drunk driving conviction will lead to a license revocation, fines, insurance surcharges and a criminal record which may affect where you are able to work as well as other restrictions in your future. In addition, depending on the severity of the charges, you may find yourself spending time in prison, attending classes and possibly even having an ignition interlock device installed in your car at your expense. It could be in your best interests to find a law firm familiar with criminal law and drunk driving to work with you to fight the charges.

Source: findlaw.com, "Field Sobriety Tests," Accessed June 5, 2017

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