Lisa was terrified. When she saw lights flashing behind her, she immediately pulled over her car. Lisa had been out with the girls. She had a few drinks. The officer asked Lisa to step out of vehicle. Lisa was asked to submit to a field sobriety test. Lisa was very worried that she could be charged with Driving While under the Influence. She considered refusing the request.
Refusing a Field Sobriety Test
Like every other New Jersey driver, Lisa does have the right to refuse a field sobriety test. Nevertheless, refusal is not always a good idea. The police officer may find other reasons to issue a drunk driving summons. It can happen to you.
Maybe you were driving at a high rate of speed on a local road. Perhaps your car crossed the yellow line. Were your brake lights working? All of these scenarios represent a reason for the police to stop you.
Once you are pulled over, the officer may make other observations. These may lead him or her to become suspicious that you are driving under the influence.
Slurred speech. The stench of alcohol. Bloodshot eyes. All reasons to check your ability to operate your car. It starts with the field sobriety test.
Just because you refuse a field sobriety test doesn’t mean you can’t be charged with drunk driving. The officer may then offer you a breathalyzer test. If you refuse to breath into the machine, you face refusal charges. Breathalyzer tests are considered mandatory. Your failure to take one represents an instant ticket.
Test results are often challenged in drunk driving cases. An experienced DWI attorney will be familiar with the issues concerning field sobriety tests.
Types of Field Sobriety Tests
New Jersey uses both standardized and non-standardized field sobriety tests. The non-standardized assessments could request the driver under suspicion to do one or more of the following:
- Recite the alphabet
- Touch his or her nose
- Pick up coins
- Count the number of fingers raised by the officer
- Handwrite something upon request
On the other hand, New Jersey recognizes the employment of certain standardized field sobriety tests. These include:
- One leg stand – Read more about this test here, together with its challenges.
- Walk and turn exam – We’ve all heard this referred to as the “walking the straight line”.
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) – The driver is instructed to follow a stimulus with his or her eyes.
You Need an Attorney if you are charged with DWI
Field sobriety tests are not always reliable. There are a variety of defenses associated with each of these tests. If you have been charged with DWI, the Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafaljo can offer you legal assistance. Contact us to learn how we can provide you with legal representation.