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Should You Submit to These Roadside Sobriety Tests?

Posted on : October 9, 2015
Maryland DUI Lawyer

Many police officers in Maryland ask a driver to step out of the vehicle and submit to roadside sobriety tests if the officer suspects they’ve been drinking. These tests are surprisingly difficult, even for drivers who are not intoxicated, and people are frequently arrested and taken into police custody as a result of failure. What roadside sobriety tests do police officers use and do you have to submit to them, or can they be declined?

Types of Roadside Sobriety Tests

There are a few standard types of roadside sobriety tests that can help an officer determine if a driver has been drinking or not, and includes the following:

One Leg Stand Test

During this test, the officer will ask the driver to stand on one leg for approximately 30 seconds. The officer will watch to see if the driver exhibits any balance problems that could indicate intoxication.

Nystagmus Test

During this test, an officer will ask a driver to look at an object close to their face, such as a pen, and follow the movements with their eyes. The officer is looking to see if the eyes shake, a condition called nystagmus, that could suggest impairment.

Walk and Turn Test

For this test, the officer will ask the driver to walk heel to toe for a short distance, turn, and walk heel to toe back to the same spot. The officer is again looking for balance problems, the inability to follow directions, and other signs that the driver may be intoxicated.

Are Roadside Sobriety Tests Mandatory?

What many people don’t know is that under Maryland law, roadside sobriety tests are not a requirement, even if an officer asks you to do them. The results are highly subjective, and there are many valid reasons other than alcohol impairment that could cause a driver to fail the tests. Therefore, these tests are voluntary, and a driver has the right to decline them.

When to Call an Attorney

If you have been arrested for a DUI, the most important thing you can do is contact a Maryland DUI attorney before you make a statement or answer any questions that are asked of you by law enforcement. You have the right to an attorney and to invoke that right as soon as possible after an arrest.

Contact J. Christopher Llinas today to discuss your legal options and how best to form a defense that will increase the chances that the charges against you are dismissed or reduced. Call now at (443) 235-5793.

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