If you are ever pulled over by any law enforcement officer, you do have rights. Whatever you are being accused of and whatever the situation, knowing your rights ahead of time can make all the difference in your case. If an officer believes you may have been driving under the influence of alcohol, he or she may ask you to perform a field sobriety test. Before you agree to any type of test, here are some things a good lawyer in Greensboro would want you to know.
You Can Legally Refuse to Participate in a Field Sobriety Test
This varies from state to state, but in North Carolina, you have the right to refuse a field sobriety test with no penalty. During your trial, the court may try to suggest that you refused because you knew you were intoxicated, but that is not as definitive evidence against you as a failed sobriety test would be. With the help of a lawyer in Greensboro, you will have a stronger defense.
You Can Legally Refuse to Take a Portable Breathalyzer Test in the Field
The officer may ask you to take a portable breathalyzer test at the time you are pulled over. You also have the right to refuse this test. Portable breathalyzer tests are not considered reliable evidence in court and should only be administered following a field sobriety test, which you may have already refused. However, if you refuse the EC/IR-II Breathalyzer test at the station, you run the risk of losing your license for a year if the officer has probable cause to think you were driving while intoxicated.
What Does a Field Sobriety Test Entail?
There are three field sobriety tests that are considered valid in the state of North Carolina.
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. This is considered to be the most reliable of the field sobriety tests. The officer will ask you to stand and follow an object with your eyes without moving your head. If intoxicated, a person’s eyes will jerk rather than moving smoothly from side to side.
- Walk and Turn Test. Once known as the “walk the line” test, the officer will ask you to walk heel to toe in a straight line, turn around, and walk heel to toe back again on the same line. If you lose your balance, wobble, fall, or fail to complete the test as asked, the officer take these as signs of possible intoxication.
- One Leg Stand. This test involves a combination of standing on one foot, alternating feet, and counting while looking at the elevated foot. If you are unable to complete this test without losing your balance, putting your foot down, or other mistakes, you will likely be considered intoxicated.
Know your Rights and Get a Lawyer in Greensboro on your Side
Your best chance of a positive outcome in court following a possible DUI charge will come from knowing your rights, exercising them, and calling a lawyer in Greensboro for representation. Don Vaughan has experience with the local court system and has represented many citizens in Greensboro and the surrounding area. If you’ve been pulled over and charged with a DUI, Donald R. Vaughan and Associates will fight for your rights. Call (336) 273-1415.