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What tests come before a DUI arrest?

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2022 | DUI/DWI/OUI |

An intoxicated driver may present a significant danger on the road. Drunk drivers put not only their own lives in danger but also anyone else on the road. Even pedestrians could get hit by a car that careens out of control. Expect New Jersey police to be on the lookout for any vehicle that suspiciously looks like one driven by an impaired driver. Upon stopping the vehicle, the police would likely use three established methods to determine intoxication.

Testing for driving under the influence

The police rely on established field sobriety tests to make a valid arrest. The horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test tracks eyeball movement, which could reveal jerking motions that suggest intoxication. The test has a high accuracy rate of 77%, but that figure indicates a 23% inaccuracy level.

The police officer could ask a suspect to perform a walk-and-turn test. Taking nine steps in a straight line and turning may not be too challenging for a sober person. An intoxicated individual might struggle with the task. The same might be true with the one-leg stand test, as drunk persons may suffer from poor balance.

Drunk driving and legal woes

Anyone pulled over for a DUI/DWI/OUI could face severe penalties. In New Jersey, fines, increased insurance premiums, the loss of driving privileges, and increased insurance premiums are possible. The driver might face maximum penalties, but swaying the judge to reduce the punitive actions might be possible.

A central question during any traffic stop would be, “Did the police have probable cause?” Sometimes, law enforcement may lack probable cause for the stop even when the driver suffered from intoxication. Lack of probable cause may undermine the case against the driver.

Although someone may fail a field sobriety test, the arrest might not lead to a conviction. All drunk driving suspects have rights.