How do police officers test for DUI in a traffic stop?

On Behalf of | May 28, 2020 | DUI |

Charges centered on driving under the influence (DUI) have become much more serious than a simple slap on the wrist in recent decades. With so much awareness about the dangers of drinking while driving, law enforcement is very intolerant of this practice. This can mean that many drivers who are not intoxicated may face a DUI arrest.

Say that you attend a dinner meeting and consume a single glass of wine. If the police stop you on your way home, you run the risk of failing any field sobriety tests administered to you. Challenging the accuracy of these tests is one method criminal law attorneys can use to protect Birmingham, Alabama, residents from a DUI conviction.

It can help your case if you understand how the police may perform these tests out on the road. Armed with this knowledge, you can help your lawyer create a successful defense if the authorities arrest you on DUI charges.

  • Walk and turn test: Taking nine heel-to-toe steps in a straight line and then turning around on one foot is not as easy as it seems even when sober. Add in the nervousness you may feel over your traffic stop and you may fail this test.
  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus: When you glance to one side, your eyes automatically jerk. When you are intoxicated, this jerking may be more pronounced. Police use this test in conjunction with other methods to determine sobriety.
  • One-leg stand: Standing on one leg for 30 seconds or more may be difficult whether you are sober or intoxicated. Still, the authorities use this method to help determine sobriety quite often.

In many cases, it is the extremely thin line between sobriety and the very beginning of impairment that gets people into trouble for a DUI. You know that you are not intoxicated, but the police are not so sure. In these cases, and many other situations, a defense lawyer can help you avoid a DUI conviction so that you can continue with your normal way of life.