Last year Shaun Kent, the founder of our firm, created a set of videos demonstrating how the standard field sobriety tests that police perform are designed to be confusing and difficult to pass, even when you’re sober!
A driving under the influence charge can entail serious consequences. In South Carolina, even a 1st time DUI can mean a loss of driving privileges and a heavy bill. With these tips in mind and a criminal defense attorney, like those on our team, you can improve your chances at avoiding the worst consequences.
You have rights. When it comes to a DUI you should know a few things. Read on below to find out.
What are the 3 DUI tests?
Being pulled over is an admission of guilt. You have rights. Following some basic steps and knowing about how field sobriety tests work helps you be more informed. These steps can have a major outcome in your case. Here’s the first thing: Pull over and be polite. Always remain calm, even when you feel you’re being baited. Second: Apart from your name, driver’s license, insurance and registration, you don’t need to say more. You don’t have to say where you’re coming from or where you’re going. Remain silent, it’s your right. Lastly, don’t take a breathalyzer test and refuse a field sobriety test.
Call a lawyer – The sooner you call a lawyer the better it’s going to be for the outcome of your case.
The NHTSA, which is short for National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, has devised 3 tests to determine a driver’s impairment. The following are those 3 tests explained. Along with some videos to show exactly how they work.
What’s the Walk & Turn DUI Test?
This test looks for 8 clues to determine sobriety. The Walk & Turn DUI Test consists of the following steps. Plant your feet heel to toe and walk 9 steps forward. Then pivot 180 degrees with your front foot and take 9 steps again.
Police look for 8 clues to determine whether a person is drunk or impaired.
1) Stepping off the line either before or after the test has started.
2) Beginning the test before being told directly to do so
3) If you pause or stop while taking the steps
4) Falling off the line
5) If your back foot and front foot have too much space between them in the steps
6) If you use your hands/arms to balance and they are raised more than 6 inches from your waist
7) If you do not pivot correctly
8) If you take too little or too many steps
Check out the video below for more information.
The One-Legged Stand Test
In this test, you first stand with both feet, heel to toe together, and arms down to your side. Then raise your foot 6 inches off the ground and start counting. You need to count by saying ‘1 Thousand one’ and so forth. You can’t stop until the officer says so. What is stopping? Putting your foot down, swaying, balancing with your hands, miscounting, or stopping before the officer tells you to.
It’s clear from the video demonstration below that this test can be failed, even by sober individuals. It’s a divided-attention test. Officers look for clues of impairment to determine whether a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
How the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test Works
The first part of this test involves the instructions phase. During the instructional phase, an officer will tell you to put your feet together, hands by your side, and they’ll tell you to follow a ‘stimulus.’ The stimulus can be for example a pen. They’ll put the pen about 15 inches away from your face. They will then tell you to follow the stimulus. While doing so they’ll track your eye movement and look for Nystagmus.
Nystagmus is the rapid uncontrollable movement of the eyes.
One of the issues with this test is that sometimes an officer will not perform the test correctly. Now, the possibility of an incorrectly performed test is one of the reasons we advise against taking any field sobriety test. But, because this test is best seen through video, and an officer only has their body-cam readily available, this test falls victim to two possible faults. That’s because a body-cam can’t really capture the eyes well.
What to do if you’ve been charged with a DUI?
If you or a loved one are facing DUI felony charges in South Carolina you have to act fast.
Contacting our firm fast means that you have a higher chance at building a proper defense and beating your charges.
Call our law office today at (803) 433-5368 to schedule your free consultation.