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Sobriety Tests You May Have to Perform Explained by Your Denver Criminal Lawyer


January 10, 2018

If you are pulled over or involved in an accident in Colorado, and a police officer feels they have seen signs you are inebriated or under the influence of drugs, you may asked to take a few field sobriety tests. These will allegedly help them determine if you have anything in your system. It is important for you to know that you do not have to perform the tests. They are voluntary. There are three that are used in the state of Colorado. It is important to know what they are, but even more important to consult with a Denver DUI defense lawyer before undergoing tests or giving details to the police.

HGN “Eye” Test

The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, known as the “HGN” exam, is a technique police use to see if there is a correlation with eye movement and your sobriety level. For inebriated individuals, there can be an involuntary movement of the eyes when looking to the side. An officer will pull out a small light or some other stimulus and will ask you to follow it with your eyes. The police officer will watch for jerking and rapid movements at different angles. During their observation, they will watch slow movement to the side, look for movement when holding the eye on the outer edge, and how it handles at a 45-degree angle.

Walk and Turn

One of the most common of tests, the “walk and turn” test, is used by officers to watch your movements. They will take you to an area and ask you to simply walk in a straight line. There is often not anything to walk along, leaving it up to you to determine what the straight line is. During this, you will walk heel to toe. They will look to see if you can keep your balance, how you handle walking, the steps you take, and where your arms fall. Throughout all of this, the officer will also be talking to you and providing you with instruction. They will look to see how you handle multitasking the test and their verbal commands. It can be difficult for even the unimpaired.

Standing on One Leg

Police officers may also ask a person suspected of being under the influence to complete a “one-leg stand” test. This is where a person will stand on one leg, having the other just six inches above the ground with a pointed toe—all the while maintaining good balance. If you have balance issues, can’t keep your foot up for the 30-second test, or use your arms to assist you, they may think you are under the influence.

It is important to know that field sobriety tests are not always accurate, and it is important to ask to speak to a lawyer before performing anything. The law enforcement community is still seeking a reliable DUI test for marijuana.  It is important to remember that no matter what, always ask for counsel. and never agree to cooperate with a voluntary test.  If you find yourself in this situation, the Law Office of John L. Buckley will help you every step of the way. Learn about the benefits of hiring a Denver criminal defense attorney when dealing with a DUI—and keep us in your phone. You never know when you will need our services, so add in 303-501-1800 today.