Any number of issues might prompt a New Jersey police officer to make a traffic stop. If an officer witnesses erratic driving behavior, he or she might suspect that the person behind the wheel is intoxicated. A patrol officer might then ask the driver to step out of his or her vehicle for a preliminary alcohol screening.
Police might request a field sobriety test
In addition to requesting a roadside breath test to see if the device detects alcohol on the breath, an officer making a traffic stop for suspected DUI might also ask a driver to submit to a field sobriety test. Several types of tests help determine if there is probable cause to make a DUI arrest. The following list briefly explains three of the most common types of field sobriety tests:
- A horizontal gaze nystagmus test tracks a person’s eye movements as he or she follows an object without moving his or her head to check if there is erratic eye movement before reaching the maximum peripheral vision point.
- The one-leg stance test typically involves standing on one leg with the head tilted upward with arms in a relaxed position; the person might also be asked to count aloud by 100s or 1000s, etc., while standing on one leg.
- A walk-and-turn test requires a person to hold arms out at shoulder length while walking a straight line with the heel of one foot meeting at the toe of the other with every step.
A field sobriety test enables a police officer to observe whether the person taking the test can follow a series of simple instructions and perform physical tasks without error. An officer’s personal interpretation of events influences the results of the test and may lead to a DUI arrest if a failing score is given.
Every person is guaranteed an opportunity to refute DUI charges in court
A New Jersey motorist is not obligated to take a field sobriety test. If a person submits to such a test and fails, he or she might wind up facing criminal charges and can refute the charges in court by presenting a defense. Most defendants request legal representation to help them determine which type of DUI defense strategy might be best in a specific set of circumstances.