If a police officer suspects that you have been driving while under the influence of alcohol, they might ask you to take DUI tests. There are several standardized field sobriety tests that police officers use to determine intoxication. Also, there are drug tests to determine blood alcohol content. Here, I will discuss some of the most common DUI tests that police officers use.
When You Get Pulled Over
When you are initially stopped on suspect of driving under the influence, a police officer might ask you to take a breathalyzer test. Breathalyzer devices use a breath sample to measure a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). While breathalyzer devices can give a good sense of a person’s BAC, they are not always completely accurate. If you were charged with a DUI based on the results of a breathalyzer, you should consider looking into this test. A DUI lawyer might be able to refute the results of the test. This could strengthen your case.
At the Police Station
If a police officer believes that you were driving under the influence, they might take you to the police station. Here, you might be asked to take additional tests to determine your blood alcohol concentration. Common tests administered at the police station are urine and blood tests.
Like a breath test, the urine test is an indirect way of measuring blood alcohol concentration. Urine tests are not always accurate because it can take as much as two hours for alcohol to show up on the test. You can argue that your BAC at the time the test was taken is not the same as your BAC while you were driving.
Unlike the breath and urine tests, a blood test is a direct measure of a person’s BAC. A blood sample can be drawn at the police station after a DUI arrest. Again, there can be issues with the blood test and accuracy. The blood alcohol concentration at the time the sample is drawn will likely be different that the person’s BAC while they were driving.
As you can see, there are issues with all of the DUI tests that determine intoxication while driving. If your DUI charge was related to one or more of these tests, the results can be refuted. A good DUI lawyer can find holes in the testing that can be used to your advantage. To discuss your case with me, contact my office. We can talk about your situation during a free consultation. I can answer your questions and help you determine the best course of action.
Taking the Breath Test
When pulled over and a police officer suspects that you drank and drove, they may ask you to take certain tests. If the police officer wants you to take the standardized field sobriety tests, in most cases you should say no. However, if a police officer asks you to take the breath test, there are pros to saying yes. Every situation is different. You have the right to refuse or provide a breath test.
Oftentimes if a police officer thinks that you drank and drove, they will ask you to take a breath test. A breath test will determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). If your BAC is below .08, you are not guilty of driving under the influence. However, if your BAC is at or above .08, the police officer can arrest you for DUI. While this is a frightening notion that might make you hesitate to take the breath test, here are a few reasons why taking the breath test is a good idea.
Reasons to Take the Breath Test
- If you refuse the breath test, you violate implied consent law. Connecticut has an implied consent law related to this test. This law states that when you operate a motor vehicle, you take on the responsibility of consenting to any breath test that a police officer asks you to take. If you refuse this test, you are violating the implied consent law. There is a punishment for this choice. Your license will automatically be suspended if you refuse the breath test. This happens even if you are not charged with or convicted of a DUI. Most people want to avoid this license suspension. If you want to avoid the implied consent license suspension, you need to take the breath test.
- Breath tests are not always hard evidence. While you might think that the result of a breath test is not refutable, this is not necessarily the case. A good DUI lawyer can find defenses to the breath test, such as the rising BAC defense. After reviewing the circumstances of your breath test, a DUI lawyer might even find a way to get the results thrown out of court. While this is not always possible, if you talk to a DUI lawyer, they might find a way to contest the breath test results.
- Complying with the police officer can make this process go quickly and smoothly. While you don’t want to be coerced into doing anything that will implicate you in a crime, complying with the police officer’s request in this situation won’t necessarily harm your case.
Refusing the SFSTs
- You are not legally obligated to take the standardized field sobriety tests. Unlike the breath tests that a police officer may ask you to take, you are not obliged to take the SFST. For the breath test, there is an implied consent law that applies. This means that if you do not take the breath test, there will be consequences. However, for the SFST, there is no implied consent law. This means that you will not be punished for refusing these tests.
- The SFST are designed to make you fail. It is very difficult to pass the SFST. In most cases, you will fail these tests and this can be used as evidence against you in court. While in some cases, a DUI lawyer can make these tests inadmissible in court, for example, if the police officer does not properly explain or demonstrate the tests, but this is not always possible. It is better to avoid the standardized field sobriety tests altogether. This will help you make a stronger defense against the DUI charge.
- These tests are not completely accurate. There are three standardized field sobriety tests – the horizontal nystagmus gaze test, the walk-and-turn test, and the one leg stand test. Taken together, these tests are fairly accurate in determining intoxication. However, on their own, these tests are not that accurate. They also cannot determine a person’s BAC level, which is a true indication of someone’s ability to operate a motor vehicle.