What are my Rights During a Field Sobriety Test in Connecticut?

Law enforcement officers need to have probable cause in order to charge a driver with driving under the influence (DUI) in Connecticut. It is because of this that they may ask the driver to step out of the vehicle and perform a series of roadside tests. These are known as field sobriety tests. They exist in order to aid the officer in finding cues to the driver’s intoxication. If you were charged with a DUI, it is important to retain the services of an experienced Connecticut DUI defense attorney today for assistance with your case.

Examples of Field Sobriety Tests

Different tests are used by Connecticut law enforcement officers in order to determine intoxication. Three tests that are standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test: When the driver uses just their eyes to track an officer’s pen, finger, or flashlight without moving their head. In doing so, the officer is looking for Nystagmus, which is an unsteady or jerking movement in the eye. 
  • Walk and Turn Test: When the driver walks steadily, heel to toe with their right foot in front of their left, arms at their sides, and turn around properly. This must be done in a direct line.
  • One Leg Stand Test: When the driver stands on one foot and counts to 30 without losing their balance or perception of time. 

Other tests that may be used by an officer but are not considered standardized can include the Rhomberg balance test, the finger-to-nose test, reciting the alphabet, the hand-pat test, and the finger-tap test.

Can I Refuse Sobriety Tests?

It is a popular misconception that all drivers are required to give their consent to participate in field sobriety tests if they are pulled over for a suspected DUI. However, this is not true. Drivers are under no legal obligation to comply and they have the right to refuse to test. However, it is important to consider the implications of refusing the tests. For example, passing it can be helpful to you. On the other hand, failing the test can give the officer evidence or probable cause. 

How Are the Tests Standardized?

Officially, the name of these tests is called “Standard Field Sobriety Tests.” The word “standardized” means that there is a correct and official way for the tests to be administered. In the event that there are mistakes made by the officer, any results from the tests can be deemed invalid and unusable in court. 

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Marc N. Needelman is an experienced attorney working throughout the state of Connecticut. If you need an attorney who is ready to fight for the financial compensation you deserve, please do not hesitate to contact us to set up a free initial consultation. Our firm deals with matters relating to real estate, personal injury, criminal defense, estate planning, and more.

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