Holiday Parties Lead to Increase in DUI's
Each year, winter holiday social activities that involve drinking are frequent and New Year’s Eve celebrations ring in a dramatic increase in DUI offenses, and other alcohol-related issues. If you were pulled over after an evening of celebrating and received a violation for DUI due to failing a field sobriety test you may have a good defense and it is important that you have an experienced DUI lawyer on your side.
There are three standard field sobriety tests that officers in Tennessee and across the country use to help determine probable cause for drunk driving.
The three tests are the following:
1. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test - The officer asks you to watch a finger or pen as it moves and follow only with your eyes and not your head. If the officer claims you are unable to follow the motion of the pen and your eyes begin to twitch, you give an indication that you are intoxicated. However, may people have a natural “nystagmus”.
2. Walk-and-Turn Test - The officer instructs you to move forward nine steps in a straight line, touching heel-to-toe on each step. You must turn appropriately, then repeat the steps in the opposite direction. Your ability to balance and follow instructions is being tested. Most of us could not do this with nothing to drink.
3. One-Leg Stand Test – You are instructed to stand on one foot while lifting the other foot six inches off the ground. Then, you count to 30 out loud. Your ability to balance and your endurance is being tested. If you lift your arms, put your foot down, or are unable to count to thirty (30), you show signs of intoxication. Most of us could not do this with nothing to drink.
Roadside field sobriety tests are not foolproof. In fact, their results are often affected by external elements. Below are some reasons you could fail a test, and some defenses to use in the courtroom.
- Weather conditions. Wind, rain, and snow can all affect your test taking abilities regardless of your sobriety.
- Terrain Walking a straight line on uneven footing, cracks and potholes is nearly impossible, especially if the ground is wet or icy.
- Medical conditions. Neurological conditions, eye conditions, vertigo, hip, knee and spine conditionals and many others could result in a failed test.
- Physical characteristics. Weight and age can also affect performance and cause you to fail a test. Many people cannot stay balanced on one foot for 30 seconds.
- Flaws in the testing. Field sobriety tests are far from 100 percent accurate in predicting intoxication.
If you have been charged with DUI in Montgomery County Tennessee or Christian County Kentucky or surrounding areas, call our office today for a free consultation.