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Field sobriety tests and DUI arrests

Being pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving is an experience no one in Colorado wants to have. It can also be a very confusing and in some cases frightening experience, particularly if you have no idea what to expect. All you do know is that the potential consequences for being convicted of drunk driving are severe.

When you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, before asking you to submit to a breath test or other type of blood alcohol test, the law enforcement officer may ask you to perform one or more types of field sobriety tests. The reason behind this is to give the officer more proof that he or she had probable cause to make a DUI arrest, and the results of such tests may serve as evidence in a court case.

What are some common field sobriety tests? First of all there is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Officers will note the extent to which an individual's eye jerks when following a moving object. Being under the influence of alcohol amplifies these jerking motions.

Another common field sobriety test is the one-leg stand. In this test, a driver will stand on one leg only, with the other leg raised about a half a foot off the ground. Then the driver will be asked to count for a certain period of time. If an individual is under the influence of alcohol, he or she may find it is hard to keep his or her balance when performing this test.

A third common field sobriety test is the walk and turn. In this test, the driver will be asked to walk heel-to-toe straight forward for a certain amount of steps. Then the driver will have to turn around and complete the same sequence of steps back. Individuals under the influence of alcohol may find it difficult to perform this test, as they are less likely to be able to divide their attention between several tasks.

While these are the three standard field sobriety tests generally used by law enforcement officials, there are others. However, even sober individuals may find these tests difficult, especially if they are nervous or under pressure. If you feel a field sobriety test has led to wrongful drunk driving charges, you may want to research your legal right to challenge such tests in court.

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