One local borough police department gave their approval to a unique way to help train police officers give field sobriety tests. The Kutztown, PA Borough Police Department was flooded with volunteers when it sought three people to help train the department’s officers. Apropos to nothing, Kutztown University sits just outside the borough’s boundaries. 😉
Thousands of people, in a town of 5,000, delighted in sharing the request for volunteers and hundreds eagerly posted comments. The Department set a few conditions first. The volunteers had to:
- “Be willing to drink hard liquor to the point of inebriation”
- Be in good health
- Have a clean criminal record
- Have no prior history of alcohol or drug abuse
- Be between 25 and 40-years-old
Volunteers colorfully responded with comments such as “Will this count as credit for my community service?”
Local police chief Craig Summers has yet to decide on how to winnow the drinking field to just three. Sadly, there’s no truth in the rumor that a drinking contest will decide the three winners.
Sobriety tests in Maryland
Police in Maryland can only ask a driver suspected of a DUI to submit to field sobriety tests if they have reasonable grounds to believe the driver was driving while intoxicated. The police can’t randomly pull drivers over (except for authorized random check-point stops) unless they see the driving weaving in and out lanes, speeding, or committing some other traffic infraction which suggests the driver might be intoxicated.
The three commonly used field sobriety tests are:
- The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test
- The One-Leg Stand test
- The Walk and Turn test
A driver who fails these tests will likely be asked to submit to a breathalyzer test. Drivers give their implied consent to submit to sobriety tests. While drivers do not have to take these tests or blow into a breathalyzer, the failure to do so can result in a suspension of their license. The prosecution can also introduce the denial into court.
The police do have to first explain the consequences for failing to submit to field sobriety tests before the failure can be used. Experienced DUI attorneys can also challenge the tests based on:
- Failure to have reasonable grounds to pull over the driver
- Evidence that the person being tested wasn’t the driver
- The test instructions were not properly given
- The tests were not properly administered
Field sobriety tests are standardized. They are required to be given according to the established guidelines of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Field sobriety tests can be used to justify the use of a breathalyzer test. They can also serve as independent evidence of driving while drunk in court.
At Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law, you and your case are my prime concern. I work aggressively to assert every DUI defense possible. This includes fighting to have invalid tests excluded. To understand your rights and to have an experienced DUI lawyer on your side, contact my Annapolis office today. Please call me at 410.777.8103. You can also fill out my contact form to set up an appointment.
Just remember: Keep Calm – and Call Drew.