The current Field Sobriety Test system was developed by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHSTA) several decades ago. They were concocted as a means and method of potentially and theoretically revealing how intoxicated someone is. The Field Sobriety Tests are conducted by police at the time someone is pulled over and suspected of DUI. Police officers are allegedly trained to look for various ‘clues’ or scoring factors that can theoretically establish whether or not someone is intoxicated. If you have been pulled over and arrested for DUI in Baltimore County, Harford County or Cecil County you should absolutely speak with ourMaryland Field Sobriety Test Defense Attorneys. Call The Law Offices of John P. Downs by dialing (410) 398-0313 or (410) 838-0100 in Harford County, Maryland.
Maryland Field Sobriety Tests
In the Maryland there are 3 Field Sobriety Tests (FST) used to ascertain how buzzed, drunk or intoxicated someone allegedly is. These tests are:
1. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN Test)
The eyeball jerks involuntary as it naturally rotates in its socket. This physiological function is called the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. A person who is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol has the ability to follow a moving object smoothly. If a person is sober the eyeball will not repeatedly stop and start. When someone is intoxicated due to alcohol consumption nystagmus is much more pronounced and exaggerated. This results in a jerking motion as the eyes rotate. When conducting the test the police officer has the person follow an object with their eyes, normally a pen or flashlight. There are 3 criteria the officer is trained to look for in this test. If, once test is completed, you demonstrate 4 or more ‘clues’ then you are allegedly have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of at least .10 which is above the legal limit.
2. Walk And Turn Test
The walk and turn test involves the suspect taking 9 heel to toe steps in a straight line. At the end of the 9th step you are required to turn on one foot and return by taking 9 more heel to toe steps. There are 8 possible ‘clues’ regarding ones level of intoxication. If you demonstrate 2 or more you are allegedly intoxicated and could be arrested for DUI in Maryland.
3. One Leg Stand Test
The one leg stand test requires you to stand with one foot at least 6 inches off the ground and count by thousands i.e. one one thousand, two one thousand, etc. This continues until you are instructed to put down your foot. 30 seconds is the standard amount of time you are required to stand on one foot. There are 4 commonly accepted intoxication indicators in this test: swaying to maintain balance, using arms to balance, hopping to maintain balance and putting your foot down before being told to do so.
Maryland Field Sobriety Test Defense Laws
These three tests can potentially indicate that you are intoxicated. They are not always accurate however and have several possible flaws. There are many reasons why a person cannot pass the field sobriety tests that have nothing to do with being intoxicated. These reason could have to do with possible being physically disabled, lacking certain motor skills, taking prescribed medication and advancing in age.
Also, if your DUI case goes to trial the FST results become even more important. Many times the police officers did not properly administer the FST’s and that can be uncovered in court. They may have used incorrect or inappropriate scoring criteria or were improperly trained regarding ho to administer the tests. Having a skilled Havre De Grace Maryland DUI Attorney on your side will address these possible FST flaws and help you get the best possible outcome regarding your DUI case.
Call Our Maryland Field Sobriety Test Defense Lawyers
Retaining a Maryland DUI Lawyer with knowledge of MD field sobriety test defense laws makes sense regarding your DUI case. The DUI lawyers at The Law Offices of John P. Downs will make sure your rights are protected throughout the entire legal process. Call Harford County DUI Defense Attorney John P. Downs today for a free consultation. With many years experience serving those facing drunk driving charges throughout Harford and Cecil Counties Mr. Downs and his staff will tenaciously defend your rights while attempting to keep the negative consequences of your pending drunk driving charges to a minimum. Let them put his extensive experience to work for you.