Police officer holding breathalyzer

What Tests Are Used in a DUI Arrest?

Before you drink any alcohol and drive you should know what tests are used to help an officer make a DUI arrest because if you are arrested you will need an experienced DUI Attorney in Fairfax, VA. When initially pulled over, police will typically request that you perform a number of tests to determine whether you are safe to drive. You should know that you have the right to refuse all these roadside tests in Virginia.

If you decide to take the tests you should understand that there are standardized field sobriety tests such as one legged stand, walking in a straight line (heel to toe), and HGN (horizontal gaze nystagmus). Standardized tests have set clues the officer is looking for and if you have a certain amount of clues wrong an officer will determine you have not followed instructions or failed to perform the test correctly. There are also non-standardized tests officers administer on the side of the road such as counting backwards, saying ABC’s (without singing them), or performing other physical or cognitive exercises such as touching finger to nose or thumb to each finger. These tests are subjective and are not reliable as a number of other factors may impact an individual’s ability to do well on these tests.

The Law Office of Ann Thayer has seen individuals fail these sobriety tests due to stress, fatigue, medical conditions, or even something as simple as poor coordination or memory. Many times the officers do not even provide proper instructions or neglect to demonstrate the tests properly. These factors can all affect how you perform on a field test but they are not an accurate determination of whether you are intoxicated.

In addition, the arresting officer may administer a preliminary breath test (PBT) on the side of the road to figure out if the blood alcohol level is .08% or more. You have the right to refuse this test on the side of the road. Do not provide them evidence to use against you in court. Contact us today if you have been charged with a DUI/DWI in Northern Virginia.