Field Sobriety Tests Attorney
Atlanta DUI Arrests Involving Sobriety Testing
Many people misunderstand their rights during field sobriety tests in Georgia.
This is because many people incorrectly believe the law of implied consent
includes refusing to comply with field sobriety tests. However, citizens
are well within their rights to refuse to submit to a field sobriety test
without suffering immediate legal consequences because of your decision.
Were you arrested for suspicion of
DUI after refusing a field sobriety test in Georgia? Whether you agreed to
perform the tests or not, it is important to have a full understanding
of the charges against you and your legal options moving forward. DUI
convictions of any kind can impose harsh penalties on your life—do
not fight the charges without a dedicated Atlanta DUI attorney at your side!
At The Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub, P.C., our team is proud to have
handled hundreds of DUI cases with success.
Contact us today so we may help you protect your rights!
Common Field Sobriety Tests
Typically, a law enforcement officer will adminster a number of individual
tests. Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) is a test in which an officer has
a driver follow a moving object – commonly a pen – with their
eyes. They will observe the driver's pupils and watch for signs that
indicate difficulties in smoothly following the object. The horizontal
gaze nystagmus has been widely criticized as a testing methodology and
can be complicated by various eye conditions.
In addition to the HGN, officers will often require driver's to walk
a straight line and turn. This test is also subjective and can be complicated
by a number of factors, including a driver's physical condition, weather
conditions, and the surface or ground itself. Swaying or difficulty balancing
may certainly indicate impairment, but it is not the only factor that
may cause these symptoms. One-leg stands, which are among the common tests,
are also prone to these same complications. Other tests that may be performed
include counting, either silently or aloud, and touching one's finger
to their nose with their eyes closed.
What are your options during a DUI stop?
When you are pulled over for a DUI, it is important that you remain calm
and aware of your rights. You have the right to refuse field sobriety
tests in Georgia if an officer asks you to perform them, and if you choose
to refuse them, you should do so politely. It is also crucial that you
understand that while field sobriety tests are optional, chemical tests
are mandatory. In fact, Georgia maintains what is known as an implied
consent law, meaning that when you refuse to submit to a breath or blood
test, you may subject yourself to automatic penalties. Refusing a chemical
test can result in an automatic suspension of your driver's license
and may subject you to an arrest.
At the Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub, our Atlanta DUI lawyers are
focused on helping clients fully understand their rights. Even if you
did submit to field sobriety tests – and you are certainly not alone
if you did – there is still always the possibility that these tests
can be challenged during your case and defense.
Understanding the Law of Implied Consent
Implied consent is a state law that all drivers agree to recognize upon
earning their driver's license. Under O.C.G.A. § 40-5-55 and
§ 40-5-67.1, drivers who refuse to submit to a chemical test such
as a breathalyzer or blood test may have their license automatically suspended
by the arresting officer.
Implied consent only concerns chemical tests—it does not include
field sobriety tests.
Individuals may refuse to submit to field sobriety tests without suffering
immediate legal repercussions. Keep in mind that this does not protect
individuals from being arrested for DUI, it only protects individuals'
right to prevent self-incrimination. Politely refusing to participate
in the field sobriety test may work in your favor, but it does not protect
you from an arrest.
Under implied consent, refusing to take a breathalyzer, urine, or blood
test results in license suspension.
Learn more about refusing to take BAC tests.
What are field sobriety tests?
Field sobriety tests were designed by the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA) to help police officers estimate a person's
blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. However, these tests cannot absolutely
determine and prove that a person is intoxicated beyond the legal .08%
limit. Usually, they are simply used as supporting evidence to bring a
DUI charge against an individual.
Common field sobriety tests include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN),
the Walk and Turn (WAT), and the One-Leg Stand (OLS). Some sources indicate
that nearly one in three of conventional field sobriety tests are fault
as a result of problematic conduct and improper procedure. Contesting
field sobriety tests may be the element of your defense that secures a
victory against the DUI charge.
How Consent/Refusal Affects Your Case
When it comes to defending against a DUI charge, the evidence against you
is one of the most important parts of the prosecution's case. As former
prosecutors, our Atlanta DUI lawyers know that the decision to consent
to a field sobriety test, as well as the decision to refuse it, plays
a key role in many DUI cases. Improper police procedure may have contributed
to a DUI stop and resulted in a wrongful arrest. Reviewing your circumstances
with an experienced legal professional is the first step to building a
strong defense against the DUI charge.
Dedicated Defense to Secure Your Freedom—Call 404-907-1536
Our team has 40+ years of collective experience in DUI defense and
criminal defense. When you retain the legal counsel and dedicated representation of our
DUI lawyer in Atlanta, you gain access to years of experience and
success handling hundreds of DUI cases. Take action before it is too late to bring a solid defense against the
DUI charge—retain the guidance of our criminal defense team and
contest the field sobriety test evidence brought against you. It may mean
the difference between a DUI conviction and an acquittal.
Arrested for DUI? Do not wait to secure exceptional legal protection.
Schedule your case consultation with The Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub, P.C. today!