Field sobriety tests are a common police tactic to show that a driver is affected by foreign substances. Even though these tests are non-scientific and often faulty, a police officer can make a DUI arrest based solely on the results. In addition, courts allow police officers to report their findings to juries during DUI trials.
When you face intoxicated driving allegations, it is important to understand the impact of field sobriety tests in Bridgeport DUI cases. Knowing how these tests work and how to contest the results is a major part of many DUI trials. The DUI lawyers at Ruane Attorneys can evaluate the circumstances of your arrest and determine any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
Consent and Field Sobriety Tests in Bridgeport
One important thing about field sobriety tests is that participation is voluntary. The United States Constitution protects against self-incrimination for all people facing accusations of criminal activity. It is legitimate and often logical to politely refuse a police officer’s request to submit to these subjective tests.
It is also important to distinguish a driver’s rights concerning field sobriety and breathalyzer tests. The privilege of driving on the state’s roads includes implied consent to submit to breath, blood, and urine tests.
Many people believe that if they take field sobriety tests and pass, a police officer must let them go. The unfortunate truth is that police officers often make traffic stops having already decided to arrest a person for DUI. In these situations, submitting to field sobriety tests can only help build a police officer’s case against the driver. Our local attorneys can provide more information about drivers’ rights to refuse field sobriety tests.
Discrediting Field Sobriety Tests During Trial
Connecticut General Statute § 14-227a says that a person commits DUI when they either operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of at least .08 percent or operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Prosecutors attempting to prove a DUI based on an elevated BAC level must rely on the results of blood, breath, or urine tests. However, cases alleging that a driver was under the influence of alcohol can rely on a police officer’s mere observations or opinions of the driver during a traffic stop.
In these cases, the results of field sobriety tests are often essential for the prosecution. When police officers administer these tests, they look for evidence of intoxication. This may include a failure to walk in a straight line or keep one’s eyes on a moving light.
The officer’s observations of a driver are subjective, meaning their conclusions may differ from those of jurors. It is important to remember that these tests are non-scientific. The Bridgeport lawyers at our firm can argue that a police officer used an imprecise method to determine a driver’s intoxication or that the results of the field sobriety tests were flawed.
Consult a Bridgeport Attorney on Field Sobriety Tests in DUI Cases
Field sobriety tests are one method police officers use to build DUI cases against suspected drunk drivers. Despite their commonality, these tests are inconclusive and often flawed. Unlike blood, breath, or urine tests, the point of a field test is to allow an officer to form an opinion, not gather scientific data. This means that the officer is vulnerable to cross-examination at trial.
Drivers also have the right to refuse to submit to balance tests, eye-following tests, or any other task an officer may ask them to perform. While this may not prevent an arrest, it can be a powerful way to limit the State’s evidence at an eventual trial. Learn more about field sobriety tests in Bridgeport DUI cases by speaking with the legal team at Ruane Attorneys. Contact us now to learn your rights and begin building a defense to your charges.