If you are stopped for suspicion of OUI over the summer holiday season, the police will likely ask you to perform field sobriety tests. There are three standard tests that the police center on in Massachusetts. The standard exercises include the nine-step walk and turn test, the one-leg stand test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.
The nine-step walk and turn and the one-leg stand exercise are walking and standing tests, respectively, that are designed to measure an individual’s ability to balance and process information. The problem with these tests for the government is that there are many reasons and factors influencing why an individual may not be able to balance and following instructions, apart from alcohol impairment.
For instance, someone may have medical problems or may just have poor balance, which may prevent him or her from adequately performing these tests. Similarly, if you are a nervous person, you may be focused on what is transpiring before you, opposed to following instructions.
The final standard field sobriety exercise is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. This is a test of the eye, and it is based on the scientific theory that there is a correlation between the consumption of alcohol and the involuntary movement of the human eyeball. The difficulty for the Commonwealth with this test is that they need someone who has the experience to testify that they are trained in giving this test and that the underlying science is reliable.
It is likely that in order to be admitted in the Commonwealth, the government will have to proceed with an ophthalmologist for the HGN’s introduction.
Therefore, if you are stopped in the Commonwealth after consuming alcohol, and you find yourself attempting these tests, don’t panic if you are arrested shortly thereafter. Be polite and immediately contact an OUI Lawyer who knows how to adequately defend an OUI charge.