Roadside Sobriety Testing And You

Law Blog

If you have had a few drinks and drive, you must already be aware of the risk you are taking. Most people never intend to drive while intoxicated, but sometimes you may be unaware of how much alcohol you have consumed and how it affects you. You might just assume that your driving will not be affected by those few drinks. When you get pulled over and law enforcement conducts sobriety testing on you right there on the side of the road, you should understand that the chances for error can be high. If you have been arrested for DUI, a good understanding of the types of tests performed and the problems with those field sobriety tests could help you mount a successful defense.

Who oversees the testing?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), perhaps better known for conducting crash tests, also takes part in setting the standards for the three most often used sobriety tests used out in the field. Learn more about these tests and the potential issues with them:

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. Nystagmus is an ocular medical condition that affects the vision by causing jerky, continuous eye movement. When under the influence of a substance, such as alcohol, the eye tends to be unable to follow the movement of a pen when moved around before the eyes. Officers trained in administering this test will observe how well the suspect follows the pen movements, particularly at certain points and angles, without excess movement. Unfortunately, there are several medical disorders that could affect your ability to complete that test accurately, such as those who wear glasses or contact lenses or suffer from certain brain disorders.

The Walk and Turn. Most people are familiar with this test where the subject is instructed to step forward in a very particular manner, then turn and walk back to the starting point. To give an accurate impression, the testing should be performed on a relatively flat surface, since the subject's ability to balance is being evaluated, among other things. Unfortunately, the ground alongside roadways is seldom flat and even. In addition to balance, the ability to understand and follow directions is also being evaluated. People who have balance problems, have lower body weakness or pain, who have language differences or hearing impairments, and many more will have problems successfully performing this test.

The One Leg Stand. This is another test that calls for a flat surface and counts on the balancing ability of the subjects. Here, the suspect is asked to stand on one leg with the other leg suspended in front a specific number of inches off the ground (usually about 6 inches off the ground). Even with no alcohol consumption at all, those with medical issues could end up failing this test.

Get some professional legal help to assist you with your field sobriety defense.


12 August 2017

Dealing with Estate Planning When You're Single

Too many single people assume they don't need to plan their estate. My brother fell into this category, and his unexpected passing left our entire family struggling to deal with his home, belongings, and financial accounts. It took nearly three years for the courts to set up a deal because he left no paperwork detailing how he wanted his estate divided. The situation immediately convinced me to work on my own estate, even though I'm still in my early 30's and don't have children or a spouse to worry about. Since it's a little harder to pick beneficiaries and estate managers when you're single, I collected the resources I used for making my own decisions and decided to publish them here on my blog. Use these resources before talking to an estate planning attorney so you're prepared for making hard decisions.