Failed Field Sobriety Tests, by MA Drunk Driving Lawyer Shane W. Surrette

If you or someone you know is stopped in a vehicle after consuming alcohol, there is a good chance the police officer will ask you to exit the motor vehicle and perform field sobriety tests. These tests are meant to be divided attention tasks, measuring an individual’s ability to process information, follow instruction, and maintain balance.  As with anything in an OUI stop, these tests are subjective, yet there are certain clues that the police will look for when asking someone suspected of operating under the influence to perform these tests.

For example, a standardized test under Massachusetts law is the nine step walk and turn test. This is an exercise where the police officer will ask you to stand with your right foot in front of your left, with your arms by your sides while they demonstrate and explain the test.  The police officer then explains that the test consists of walking nine steps in a straight line, with your heels touching your toes, arms by your sides, with a prescribed turn, and nine steps back in the same fashion to the starting position.

The clues that are looked for in this test are whether or not you are able to balance during the instructional part of the test, whether you: step off line, maintain heel to toe, raise your arms, start on time, stop, turn correctly, take the correct number of steps, and maintain balance.  Often times an individual may miss heel to toe or may step offline on a couple of steps, yet they take the correct number of steps, keep their arms by their sides, and turn correctly.  Does this mean that they satisfactorily or unsatisfactorily performed the tests?

As with anything else, it is generally a question of degree.  As a result, it is important to hire a Massachusetts Drunk Driving Lawyer who will highlight the strengths of your case and who will aggressively fight for you. For more information, please contact Attorney Surrette at the link below:

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