Driving under the influence is considered a serious criminal offense in South Carolina. If you’re pulled over by law enforcement and suspected of driving while intoxicated, chances are that you’ll be asked to perform a field sobriety test. While these tests are designed to detect alcohol or drug impairment, they can be highly subjective and prone to error, leading innocent drivers to fail them even while sober.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the reasons why you might be set up for failure during a field sobriety test and why hiring an experienced Greenville DUI lawyer should be your first step if charged with DUI.
You Have the Right to Refuse a Field Sobriety Test in South Carolina
In South Carolina, you have the right to refuse a field sobriety test. While it’s true that by refusing, you might face license suspension and other consequences, it may still be in your best interest to decline the test. The reason is simple: these tests are notoriously unreliable and prone to error.
Field sobriety tests often involve physical coordination exercises designed to gauge impairment levels, but many innocent individuals can fail them due to various reasons such as middle ear issues or nervousness. Even fully sober people can find themselves unable to perform these tasks satisfactorily under pressure – perhaps due to nerves or anxiety about being pulled over.
If an officer asks you to take a field sobriety test in South Carolina, remember that it’s not mandatory and declining won’t result in severe penalties compared with DUI charges which could land you in jail.
Here are just a few reasons why you are likely to fail a field sobriety test, even if you did not drink any alcohol:
You Are Under Pressure and Likely to Fail Even Fully Sober
Field sobriety tests are designed to test a person’s physical and cognitive abilities while under pressure. However, the pressure of being stopped by law enforcement and asked to perform these tests can cause even sober individuals to fail. The anxiety and stress that come with being pulled over can impact your ability to concentrate, follow instructions and stay coordinated.
Moreover, police officers often use tactics like intimidation or forceful language during field sobriety tests which only adds additional stress on top of an already tense situation. This type of environment makes it difficult for anyone to pass the field sobriety test regardless of their actual level of intoxication.
Even if you are fully sober, there is no guarantee that you will be able to complete all the tasks perfectly without making any mistakes due to the added mental and emotional strain. Furthermore, some people naturally struggle with balance or coordination which could make them appear intoxicated when they are not.
It is important to remember that failing a field sobriety test does not automatically mean you will be charged with DUI. There may be other explanations for why you were unable to perform well on these tests such as health conditions or environmental factors beyond your control.
If you have been arrested for DUI after failing a field sobriety test in Greenville SC, it is imperative that you contact an experienced Greenville DUI lawyer right away who can help protect your rights in court.
Asking for Clarifications Is Counted as a Clue against You
Asking for clarifications during a field sobriety test can seem like the natural thing to do. However, it’s essential to understand that any questions you ask may be interpreted as a sign of impairment. Unfortunately, this means that asking for help or seeking clarification could be counted against you and used as evidence in court.
In many cases, police officers administering field sobriety tests are trained to interpret your actions as signs of intoxication. They’re looking for specific clues that indicate whether you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you ask too many questions or don’t follow instructions precisely, they might assume you’re impaired.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and confused during a field sobriety test, especially if it’s your first time experiencing one. This is one more reason to say no to the test and get in touch with a skilled Greenville DUI lawyer to fight any charges brought against you.
NHTSA Validated Only 3 of the Tests
When it comes to field sobriety tests, it’s important to understand that not all tests are created equal. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has validated only three types of field sobriety tests as reliable indicators of impairment.
These three validated tests include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, Walk-and-Turn test, and One-Leg Stand test. While these are commonly used by law enforcement officers, it’s important to note that even these validated tests have their limitations.
For example, the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test involves an officer observing a driver’s eye movements while they follow a moving object with their eyes. However, certain medical conditions or medications can cause nystagmus without any presence of alcohol or drugs in the system.
Similarly, the Walk-and-Turn and One-Leg Stand tests require individuals to perform physical tasks that may be difficult for some people even when sober due to age or health-related issues.
There Is No Guarantee the Police Officer Is Fully Trained
When it comes to administering field sobriety tests, police officers are trained to follow specific guidelines. However, there is no guarantee that the officer who pulls you over for suspicion of DUI has received adequate training in conducting these tests.
Some law enforcement departments may not have the resources or funding to provide comprehensive training on how to properly administer field sobriety tests. This can lead to mistakes being made during testing and potentially innocent individuals being charged with a DUI offense.
Moreover, some police officers may be more experienced than others when it comes to administering field sobriety tests. An inexperienced officer may not know how to properly evaluate certain clues and could come up with an inaccurate assessment of your level of intoxication.
The Best Option: Contact a Greenville DUI Lawyer to Protect Your Rights!
If you are facing a field sobriety test or have already been charged with a DUI, it is important to understand your rights and options. Refusing the field sobriety test in South Carolina is within your right, but this can come with consequences. Moreover, there are numerous factors that can affect the outcome of these tests, even if you are fully sober.
The best way to protect yourself and your rights in this situation is by contacting an experienced Greenville DUI lawyer. They will be able to assess your case and determine the most effective course of action for you moving forward. With their guidance and representation, you may be able to avoid harsh penalties such as fines, license suspension or even jail time.