With Memorial Day’s four-day weekend upon us, it is important for us at ‘’Maggio|Thompson to remind our clients and readers of the dangers of drunk and impaired driving on the roadways. We obviously want any and everyone reading this to be responsible and not get behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol; however, if you find yourself pulled over for suspected impaired driving, here is what you need to know about field sobriety tests.
Often, we find that drivers believe that if they refuse to blow, then they cannot be charged with a DUI. What this is, is a quick way to get your license suspended under a DUI refusal. Most people do not realize that as a condition of getting a license in Mississippi, you have already consented to a breathalyzer in the event of getting pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence. In addition to that, a driver does not even have to blow to ultimately be charged with a DUI. If you are given a field sobriety test, a police officer may use several methods to determine if a driver is impaired during a traffic stop.
Typically, an officer initiates a DUI traffic stop when he or she observes dangerous or erratic driving. You can be charged with impaired driving for consumption of alcohol or substances such as prescription medications or drugs like marijuana. Once the officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that the driver is under the influence, he or she will give a field sobriety exam. Most law enforcement agencies follow the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) which consist of the following three tests:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus (the eye test) is an involuntary jerking of the eyeball which occurs as the eyes gaze to the side. The officer will get the driver to follow a light with his or her eyes.
- The walk-and-turn test, the subject is directed to take nine steps, touching heel-to-toe, along a straight line. After taking the steps, the suspect must turn on one foot and return in the same manner in the opposite direction.
- One-leg stand test, the subject is instructed to stand with one foot approximately six inches off the ground and count aloud by ones beginning with one thousand (one thousand-one, one thousand-two, etc.) until told to put the foot down. The officer times the subject for 30 seconds.
Keep in mind that the officer is taking a note of all the driver’s actions and words to actively build a case against the driver. The officer may attempt to mislead the suspected driver—especially during the field sobriety test portion.
Contact the DUI Defense Attorneys at ‘’Maggio|Thompson Today!
If you or a loved one gets charged with a DUI while driving in Mississippi during a holiday weekend, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at ‘’Maggio|Thompson to set up a consultation.