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Upon being pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), a law enforcement officer may require you to submit to a breathalyzer test. For good measure, an officer may also ask you to step out of your motor vehicle to perform certain field sobriety tests. Continue reading to learn the most commonly conducted field sobriety tests and how an experienced Morristown DUI defense lawyer at Graves Andrews, LLC can help if you fail yours.

What are common field sobriety tests conducted by New Jersey law enforcement officers?

Firstly, field sobriety tests are tests conducted by New Jersey law enforcement officers to determine whether a driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol. These tests may assess a driver’s balance, coordination, and multi-tasking capabilities. Of note, the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recognizes three standardized field sobriety tests: the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk-and-turn test, and the one-leg stand test.

For one, when conducting the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, an officer may ask you to follow a moving object (i.e., a pen or flashlight). Here, they may analyze whether your eye jerking is distinct at maximum deviation; whether the angle of your eye jerking is within 45 degrees; or whether your eye cannot follow the moving object smoothly. Any aggressive or aggravated eye jerking may be a sign of intoxication.

Then, as the name suggests, the walk-and-turn test may have an officer ask you to follow these instructions: take nine steps heel-to-toe along a straight line; turn on one foot; return nine steps in the opposite direction. Any loss of balance or failure to follow the explicit instructions may signal intoxication.

Lastly, the one-leg stand test may prompt an officer to ask you to follow these instructions: stand with one foot six inches off the ground; count from 1,001; place your foot back down when ordered. Any loss of balance or failure to count in order may tip off intoxication.

It is also worth mentioning that there are other, nonstandardized field sobriety tests that an officer may ask of you. Specifically, they may ask you to stand with your feet together and tip your head backward; count the number of fingers they are holding up; count backward from a certain number; and more.

What happens if I fail any of these tests?

If you fail any of the field sobriety tests a law enforcement officer asks of you, they may exercise their authority to arrest you on suspicion of a DUI. You may then await a hearing in the presence of a New Jersey criminal court. During your proceedings, the prosecution may bring forward additional evidence of your being intoxicated at the time of your stop (i.e., breathalyzer test results).

Ultimately, if there is enough convincing evidence against you, you may be charged with a DUI offense. This may come with a slew of criminal punishments, such as jail time and fines.

In conclusion, there is no better time than now to act. So please reach out to a skilled Morristown criminal defense lawyer from Graves Andrews, LLC at your earliest possible convenience.