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3 Types of Sobriety Tests Law Enforcement May Use

May 25, 2017

Law enforcement officers are constantly under pressure to meet quotas and catch anybody on the road who they may perceive as unsafe. The result is an enthusiasm for making DUI arrests that may prioritize an officer’s objective over a suspect’s rights. Nonetheless, they will typically make arrests on the grounds of certain evidence. The following are several different types of sobriety tests that you may undergo if you have been stopped on suspicion of a DUI.

Breathalyzer Devices

According to The Atlantic, Breathalyzers and their counterparts are the most widely used tool in gauging drivers’ blood alcohol levels. These devices work by capturing the subject’s breath and measuring the amount of alcohol contained therein. Because the devices do not technically read BAC—as only a blood sample can do accurately—the reliability of results is often questionable.

Field Sobriety Exercises

If you decline a breath test, or if an officer elects to request another form of assessment, he or she may ask you to complete field sobriety exercises. Some of these include walking in a straight line from heel to toe, standing for at least 30 seconds on one leg and several other possible exercises. Though these tests may indicate inebriation, they do not prove a person’s BAC is above the legal limit, so their merit as evidence is subjective.

Visual Assessment

Even if you do not complete a field sobriety test or consent to a Breathalyzer, law enforcement officers may use their own assessment of your behavior and condition as a sobriety test. If an officer deems you to appear drunk, the judge often treats his or her word as sufficient evidence. Without an objective verification of their account, though, it is difficult to prove whether a person’s BAC is above the legal limit at the time of the arrest.

Officers can arrest you for DUI with or without any of these tests, and you should know your legal rights. Contact an attorney for more information.