How Do Roadside Sobriety Tests Work?

These roadside sobriety tests are commonly known as the eye test, walk the line test, or balancing test. Did you know these tests are completely voluntary? That is right — you do not have to do these tests. The trained Colorado DUI lawyers at Hernandez & Associates, P.C., hear it all the time from people accused of DUI,

"I did the roadside tests for the cop and I passed them just fine..."

Chances are overwhelmingly high that if you are charged with a DUI in Colorado your arresting police officer is not going to report that you passed your roadside tests. Why is that?

Roadside tests were designed and tested over 40 years ago by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). These tests were designed and conducted in the comfortable confines of a controlled environment. These tests were not designed to be performed on the side of a highway at night, with flashing lights, blowing wind, and tractor-trailers screaming by at 70 mph. The tests were developed and performed in a comfortable and controlled indoor environment.

Cops Trained To Look For Any Small Mistakes

The first test that is typically performed is the eye test, otherwise known as the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test. Your police officer is not just trying to see if you can follow a pen with your eyes. They are looking for six total possible clues that may suggest you are drunk. Do you have a lack of smooth pursuit? Do you have the onset of nystagmus prior to 45 degrees? Do you have nystagmus at maximum deviation? Suddenly this "simple" eye test is not so simple anymore.

Roadside tests are also divided attention tests. That means the tests are designed to be deliberately complicated. Police officers are trained to give you very specific orders while you are busy completing another task. If you do not complete the task exactly as instructed the cop will use that mistake against you.

Two Divided Attention Tests That May Be Used Against You

The two primary divided attention tests the police are going to try and use against you are the Walk and Turn and the One Leg Stand. Both of these tests are designed to have you perform a complex physical maneuver (turn with a series of small steps...) and also follow simultaneous mental exercises (stare at your toe while counting aloud to 30...). Confused yet? That is exactly what these tests are designed to do.

Bottom line, that police officer is not your friend and is not going to help you if you are suspected of DUI. Don't let law enforcement push you around anymore. Your well-trained Denver DUI lawyer at Hernandez & Associates, P.C., will be able to dissect the police reports and examine your roadside tests to determine all possible defenses. Call us to discuss your case at 303-536-5134. You can also email us online to reach a lawyer.

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