Field Sobriety Tests in Georgia
In Georgia, when a law enforcement officer has reason to believe that a driver is under the influence he or she may conduct what is known as a field sobriety test (FST). The results of these tests could play a major role in whether a person is arrested for driving under the influence. This is a serious offense, so it’s a good idea for Georgia to have a good understanding of what they can expect if detained and asked to perform a field sobriety test.
The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
Field sobriety tests are a routine procedure that law enforcement officers use to assess whether or not a driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol. These tests take the form of physical and cognitive assessments that are specifically designed to gauge a driver’s level of impairment. The first is the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test, which involves checking a driver’s eye movements by asking him or her to track an object as it moves horizontally. This test gives officers the chance to check a driver’s eyes for signs of involuntary movement, which can be a marker of impairment.
The Walk and Turn Test
The second type of field sobriety test is the Walk and Turn (WAT) test, which emphasizes a person’s ability to follow an officer’s instructions and maintain balance at the same time. Someone who is asked to undergo the WAT test will need to take a number of steps, heel-to-toe in a straight line, turn on one foot and then return in the same manner. This test is intended to reveal whether a driver is able to follow instructions, all while demonstrating his or her coordination.
The One-Leg Stand Test
The third type of field sobriety test is the One-Leg Stand (OLS) test and it involves standing on one foot for a specific amount of time. This test supposedly allows officers to evaluate a driver’s balance and ability to concentrate, even when under pressure.
What if I Fail My Field Sobriety Test?
Unfortunately, there are a lot of reasons why a person might fail a field sobriety test (besides intoxication). For instance, medical conditions can affect a driver’s eye movements and balance, making it almost impossible to pass a field sobriety test. Even things like nervousness or environmental factors, like glare from the sun, could affect how a person does when completing these tests. This means that a driver could end up unfairly accused of driving under the influence. In these cases, it is important for the accused to reach out to an attorney for help proving that the test results were not indicative of intoxication.
An Experienced Smyrna DUI Lawyer
Those who are convicted of driving under the influence in Georgia face a variety of criminal penalties, including fines, a driver’s license suspension, probation, and even incarceration. Fortunately, it is possible for drivers who have been charged with a DUI to have these kinds of charges dismissed by establishing that a field sobriety test was improperly conducted. Call experienced Smyrna DUI lawyer Andrew L. Schwartz, P.C. to set up a free consultation and take the first step towards asserting your legal rights. You can reach us at 678-853-2500 or by sending us an online message.