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field sobriety tests Archives

High stress levels and field sobriety tests

There are a number of issues to take into consideration when it comes to field sobriety tests. Our blog has addressed some of the different factors that can adversely affect the results of these tests, such as struggling with balance or abnormal functioning in the brain. Moreover, there are other challenges that can adversely affect the outcome of a field sobriety test, such as extreme stress. If you have been pulled over by a law enforcement official, it is very important for you to attempt to reduce your stress levels. However, this can be a very unnerving experience and many people feel overwhelmed, which may even cause them to fail a field sobriety test.

Inaccuracy rates of field sobriety tests

If you are ever stopped by a police officer while driving in Massachusetts and that officer suspects you may have been driving while under the influence of alcohol, you may be asked to take part in some tests. This request may well leave you feeling nervous and afraid as certainly you do not want to be arrested for drunk driving. While keeping calm may be difficult at this time, one thing you should know is that the field tests used by law enforcement are not fully accurate.

How do field sobriety tests and chemical tests differ?

Erratic driving, falling asleep behind the wheel or causing an accident may be clear indicators that a Boston resident is driving under the influence. Yet minus these incidents, how is a law enforcement official to know if you may be intoxicated? There are subtle clues that one might rely on (e.g., bloodshot eyes, alcohol beverage containers in your vehicle, the perceived smell of alcohol on your breath), yet none of these are sufficient to prove that you are legally drunk. Only sobriety testing can do that. 

Different types of field sobriety tests

If a law enforcement official pulls you over and suspects that you are driving while drunk, they may decide to conduct a field sobriety test. In Massachusetts, you are able to refuse to submit to a test, although this may present consequences as well (for example, refusing a breath test could lead to the suspension of your driving privileges). There are different types of field sobriety tests that are conducted, such as standing on one leg, walking heel-to-toe, and a test which involves your horizontal gaze. Failing a field sobriety test can result in harsh penalties, even if you were not under the influence of alcohol.

Failing a field sobriety test while sober

If you fail a sobriety test, a number of negative consequences may lie ahead. For example, you may find yourself out of work or you could have a harder time trying to land a job in the future. Or, perhaps you will face stiff financial penalties or prison time. At the offices of Attorney John B. Seed, we know how devastating it can be for people who face these consequences as a result of failing field sobriety tests while sober.

What field sobriety tests are used in Massachusetts?

A field sobriety test is often administered by a law enforcement officer when trying to assess if a person is intoxicated. According to the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association, there are three main field sobriety tests used. These tests have been proven through scientific testing as an accurate way to gauge intoxication and include walk and turn, one-leg stand and horizontal gaze nystagmus.

Limits and testing may lead to more drugged driving arrests in MA

A person who is charged with a DUI in Massachusetts may have difficulty contesting the matter in court if the chemical tests reveal that the blood alcohol content is above the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Drugs may also affect driving skills, but as NBC Boston notes, proof of the impairment may not be as easy to come by for law enforcement officers attempting to make an arrest. In addition, many authorities are untrained in positively identifying whether a driver is high.

Driver taken into custody after field sobriety test

When someone finds themselves accused of driving under the influence and submits to a field sobriety test, the results of the test could have an impact on their future in many ways. In addition to spending time behind bars and facing stiff financial penalties, drunk driving charges can also haunt people years down the road. For example, someone charged with drunk driving in Boston may struggle to find work in Massachusetts, or elsewhere in the country.

Your balance issues could cost you your freedom

Before administering a field sobriety test on the side of a Massachusetts roadway, law enforcement officers have to go through training to learn how to correctly administer them. Two of these are the walk-and-turn test and the one-leg stand test. These measure balance, which can be precarious for someone who has a blood alcohol concentration at or above the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

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