Administration of Field Sobriety Tests

Applies only when the tests are administered in the prescribed standardized manner. The HGN test requires the officer to move the pen at an approximate speed. During this test, the officer gives a series of instructions to the suspect as to how to perform the test, which includes walking 9 steps in one direction, heel-to-toe, making a precise type of turn, and walking 9 steps back in the same manner. The test requires the suspect to engage in non-natural body movements in that the human skeleton is not designed to walk with one foot in front of the other. Ironically, the officers do not follow the instructions from their training, despite being formally trained and despite having administered these tests dozens, if not hundreds, of times. 

The officers do not give the suspect credit for slight mishaps, despite the suspect being extremely nervous and hearing a series of confusing instructions quickly prior to the test. If the suspect knew of the thirty-second requirement, the suspect may be able to prepare his balance better or may wish to refuse the test altogether. South Carolina’s appellate courts have not yet ruled on the admissibility of field sobriety tests when they are not administered in accordance with NHTSA standards. Without guidance, some lower courts have excluded the field sobriety tests from evidence altogether. A lot of jurors will have seen the suspect step off the line, or put his foot down, or not make the turn exactly like the officer wanted, and these jurors will give the officer the benefit of the doubt that he was correct in arresting the suspect. 

As it stands now in South Carolina, good DUI defense lawyers will continue to go through the field sobriety tests with a fine-toothed comb and challenge the officers to administer their tests correctly. Our FREE eBook will help!DUI in South Carolina – Piecing It All TogetherThis FREE book for drivers has practical information on South Carolina’s laws and effective defense strategies including the laws of DUI & DUAC, the legal procedures, implied consent hearings, field sobriety tests, the DMT DataMaster breath test machine, the penalties & costs for a DUI, how to be an effective witness, and much more. 

Keywords: [“test”,”officer”,”suspect”]
Source: https://www.charlestonlaw.net/administration-field-sobriety-tests…

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New Mexico Criminal Law Offices

A commercial driver in Albuquerque, New Mexico cannot operate a motor vehicle if his or her BAC is higher than 0.04. When a driver is pulled over by police for suspicion of driving under the influence in New Mexico, he or she may face a variety of penalties. Commercial drivers who have more than one DWI will be permanently disqualified from driving commercially. If the license is suspended, the driver is not allowed to drive until the time is up, and then their driving privileges may be reinstated. Because commercial drivers spend much of their time driving for a living and are entrusted with more responsibility than regular drivers, they are given fewer chances before being disqualified from commercial driving. 

After the first offense, regardless of whether they were driving a commercial vehicle at the time, their commercial driver’s license is suspended for a year and their commercial driving privileges disqualified. To determine whether or not a driver is impaired, police officers observe his or her driving behavior to see if it appears impaired in any way. If the driver fails the field sobriety test, and the officer determines that he or she is unfit to operate a motor vehicle, then the driver’s license could be confiscated on site and revoked for a year by the Motor Vehicle Division. A revocation of driver’s license can occur without any action by a court, and without the driver ever having their BAC tested. If the driver’s BAC is tested and found to be above 0.08, this provides confirmation that the driver was breaking the law and only strengthens the case against him or her. 

Failing a field sobriety test is reason enough for a police officer to make an arrest and charge a driver with DWI. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, where 26.9 percent of the state’s DWI incidences occur, officers often employ methods such as group patrols and video surveillance in addition to normal sobriety checkpoints and standardized field sobriety tests. Used in Albuquerque, New Mexico as well as cities and states across the country, breathalyzer tests are deemed one of the most reliable ways to determine a driver’s blood alcohol content. 

Keywords: [“drive”,”test”,”alcohol”]
Source: https://www.newmexicocriminallaw.com/practice-areas/dui