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Novi Field Sobriety Tests

Police officers often use a battery of standardized field sobriety tests during traffic stops to help them determine whether drivers are impaired. All too often, however, police improperly administer Novi field sobriety tests or misinterpret their results, potentially leading to inappropriate DUI arrests.

Field sobriety tests are only one component of the evidence that police officers rely on to make DUI arrests. Observations of signs of impairment, such as the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and delayed reactions may also contribute to an officer’s presumption of impairment. A DUI defense lawyer can assess the overall evidence against you and determine how to build the most effective defense strategy in your situation.

Types of Field Sobriety Tests in Novi

Police typically administer a set of three standardized field sobriety tests in Novi when they suspect driver impairment during a traffic stop. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has developed these tests for law enforcement officials. According to the NHTSA, their results, when taken collectively, can indicate driver impairment from alcohol or drug use.

Field sobriety tests typically include a one-leg stand test, walk-and-turn test, and a horizontal gaze nystagmus test. These tests are designed to measure balance, coordination, eye movement, and a driver’s ability to follow instructions.

While both the walk-and-turn test and the one-leg stand tests measure physical balance and coordination, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test evaluates eye response. Individuals must follow an object with their eyes as a police officer moves it back and forth. Jerking of the eyes or an inability to smoothly follow the object might be an indication of impairment.

Novi Field Sobriety Tests

In contrast to chemical tests for alcohol or drugs, such as urine, blood, and breath tests, Novi field sobriety tests do not produce objective results. The results of these tests rely on observations and interpretations of police officers to produce probable cause for an operating while intoxicated (OWI) arrest.

Due to their inherently subjective nature, the results of field sobriety tests are not uniform and may be unreliable. Medications can sometimes affect coordination and balance as can illness or other medical conditions. Likewise, fatigue, physical impairments, and nervousness over being stopped all can impact the results of field sobriety tests.

While field sobriety tests may be a useful tool for law enforcement officials in some instances, they are far from foolproof. Overreliance or misinterpretation of field sobriety test results can lead to improper OWI arrests. For these reasons, drivers are not legally required to take a field sobriety test, regardless of what the officer says.

Refusing Field Sobriety Tests

When drivers refuse to undergo breath testing or other chemical examinations when police make an arrest for impairment, defendants may suffer immediate repercussions for their refusal. Under state implied consent laws, individuals may face an automatic license suspension due to their refusal of chemical testing at the police station. However, these implied consent laws do not apply to field sobriety tests or the roadside breath test.

As a result, individuals are free to refuse to complete field sobriety tests and roadside breath testing during a traffic stop. The results of a field sobriety test could provide more evidence to gain a conviction in court, or even affirm an officer’s probable cause to make an arrest. However, a refusal of a field sobriety test or preliminary breath test may make some officers more likely to make an arrest.

Undergoing Field Sobriety Tests in Novi

As the NHTSA has standardized Novi field sobriety tests, police officers must administer and interpret them in a uniform manner. However, irregularities in procedural administration can lead to unfair and prejudicial results. A skilled attorney could provide a defense to highlight the inconsistencies and unreliability of any field sobriety test results.

By getting legal advice when facing OWI charges, you may be in a better position to challenge the results of the evidence against you. A strong defense strategy may allow you to avoid the potentially harmful repercussions of a DUI conviction. Call today to schedule a consultation for your case.

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