If you have been pulled over and a police officer has reason to believe that you are under the influence of alcohol, a variety of tests may be administered. These tests are designed to make sure that an individual is safe to drive. If a person performs poorly on those tests, he or she may be taken into custody and charged with DUI. What tests may a person be subject to?
Field Sobriety Tests May Be First
Typically, a person will first be asked to conduct a series of field sobriety tests. These may include reciting the alphabet backwards or following a light with their eyes. Individuals may also be required to stand on one leg and count to a certain number along with the officer. Other tests may include answering a series of questions that a sober person would be able to answer in an instant.
A Breathalyzer Test May Be Next
If an officer believes that there are signs of impairment, the next step will be to conduct a Breathalyzer test. The Breathalyzer test measures the amount of alcohol in a person’s breath, and it can be submitted as evidence in a DUI case. The legal blood alcohol content limit in the United States is .08 percent, which is roughly four drinks.
Do Drivers Have to Submit to Breathalyzer Tests?
A driver does not have to consent to a Breathalyzer test. In some cases, this may be a good decision as it removes a key piece of evidence that could be used to convict a person of the charge. However, refusing to do so does come with penalties of its own such as the loss of driving privileges for up to a year. This is because all 50 states have implied consent laws. By obtaining your drivers license, the law says that you have consented to such tests and are breaking the law by refusing to submit to them.
An Officer May Ask for a Blood Sample
Officers may ask for a blood sample to further determine how much alcohol is in a person’s blood. It is also possible that an officer would ask for a blood sample in the event that a person refused to submit to a breath test. It is important for individuals to understand that blood can only be drawn with consent or by a warrant. Otherwise, any results from such a test are generally considered invalid.
Blood Samples May Also Detect Other Substances
If a driver submits to a blood sample, it may be possible to detect substances other than alcohol. For instance, if a person has smoked marijuana or done other drugs recently, the authorities may find evidence of that. This could lead to a person facing additional charges. However, an attorney may be able to take steps to ensure that no charges are filed or that any additional consequences are kept to a minimum.
Urine Samples May Be Collected
A urine sample may be collected in the event that a blood sample cannot be. This may happen if the police cannot get a warrant or consent for a blood draw. In some cases, it may not be safe to draw blood from an individual. There is some question as to whether a warrant is needed for a urine test, and police may attempt to get one before taking a sample. However, the sample may be included as evidence regardless depending on how a judge rules.
Are Test Results Always Accurate?
It is important to note that test results are not always accurate. A driver could have an elevated BAC because of an issue with his or her blood absorbing the alcohol. The results of a blood or urine test could also be incorrect based on how they were handled. An attorney will likely try to cast doubt on how tests were conducted in an effort to obtain a favorable case for an individual. It is important to point out that the results of field sobriety tests cannot be used as evidence a person was drunk.
Those who are stopped by police and suspected of DUI could face serious consequences if charged and convicted. Therefore, it is important that an individual understands his or her rights throughout the legal process. Talking with an attorney may help an individual learn more about those rights and develop ways to fight the charge in court.
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Learn more about DUI by reading this wikipedia page.