Challenging the Results of New Hampshire Sobriety Testing
In addition to administering breath tests, the police often use field sobriety tests to determine sobriety or impairment when a person is stopped for suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI). At Joseph Kelly Levasseur, Esquire, I can investigate how field sobriety tests were conducted when you were arrested, using evidence gathered during roadside sobriety testing, to develop the best possible defense strategy for clients in Manchester charged with DWI for alcohol or drugs.
Methods Used For Assessing Sobriety
Police use field sobriety tests in Manchester, New Hampshire, for drivers who are suspected of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Although breath tests are only useful for measuring alcohol, field sobriety testing can measure impairment due to alcohol or drugs, including prescription drugs, controlled substances and over-the-counter medications.
Field sobriety testing used in New Hampshire includes:
- Walk-and-turn test: You may be asked to follow instructions for walking a certain distance, turning and walking back to the starting point to see if you can follow directions and complete the task.
- One-leg stand: The police may have people suspected of DWI stand on one foot with the other held a few inches off the ground for 30 seconds without swaying or falling over.
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN): This test measures involuntary eye movement that may be a sign of intoxication. The test involves having the suspect track an object and evaluating eye movement for jerky movements.
All three tests are often used to build a strong case to show that a driver was impaired. In addition to field sobriety tests, the police also evaluate the behavior and responses of the driver before and during the testing process.
Training Required For Police Officers
When the police stop a driver, they are trained to observe your behavior for signs of intoxication. This may include erratic driving behavior prior to the stop and slurred speech or other evidence of impairment after the driver is pulled over. The observations of the police officer, chemical testing and field sobriety testing are often used as evidence when charging an individual with operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Compliance with field sobriety tests is covered under the implied consent law. Refusing to submit to the tests may result in penalties above and beyond the penalties for conviction of a DWI, including a 180-day license suspension for a first offense and two years for subsequent offenses.
Building a Powerful Defense Strategy
The problem with field sobriety tests is that the results are completely subjective. Furthermore, these tests are designed to gather more evidence to establish probable cause and make an arrest rather than to determine whether you passed or failed. Balance problems and other issues may result in an individual failing to successfully complete the tasks, even when they are not impaired by drugs or alcohol. I will consider the results of the tests and how the testing was conducted to challenge the results.
At Joseph Kelly Levasseur, Esquire, my clients enjoy how easy it is to get a hold of an experienced criminal defense lawyer when they work with me. I am very selective in taking cases and intentionally avoid taking on too many cases at once to provide all clients with the level of service and effective legal representation they deserve.