DUI tests are routinely administered by police authorities when there is sufficient motive to suspect that somebody is driving under the influence of alcohol. Also known as sobriety tests, these inspections come in two main types: field sobriety tests and chemical tests.
The NHTSA or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has approved three field DUI tests: One-Leg Stand, Walk-and-Turn, and Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. In addition to these tests, a police officer offer in Columbia, South Carolina may also perform a breathalyzer test or a blood chemical test, specifically if the driver refuses to undergo the field tests or if the officer has determined the need for subsequent testing.
The Different Kinds of Field Sobriety Tests Approved in Columbia, South Carolina
According to South Carolina DWI rules, drivers’ blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) should not be 0.08 percent or higher. This limit is further reduced for drivers who are not yet 21, as the BAC should not be 0.02 percent or higher.
The NHSTA has sanctioned the following standardized DUI tests:
This type of sobriety test is meant to evaluate balance, coordination, and stability. In this test, a police officer will ask the intoxicated driver to stand only on one foot. The other foot should be raised from the ground at approximately six inches. The driver will then be asked to start counting to thirty.
Among all the DUI tests, the walk-and-turn is perhaps the most widely known in Columbia, South Carolina and in other states. Here, the main objective is to evaluate the driver’s balance and coordination as well as his/her ability to comprehend instructions. The police will instruct the inebriated driver to take nine steps in a forward straight-line direction, with the heel touching the toe for every step. Afterwards, the individual will have to turn around, using only one foot, and perform the same routine again.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Sobriety Test
This type of test performed in Columbia, SC is meant to inspect whether the driver exhibits certain jerking eye motions when requested to follow a small object, such as a small flashlight or the tip of a pen, usually placed at a distance of twelve to fifteen inches. A driver inebriated beyond permissible limits will exhibit difficulty in following the object or show twitching eye movements.
Can I Refuse to Perform these DUI Tests in Columbia, SC?
Yes. It is important to remember that not all tests are sanctioned by the NHTSA. If you’ve been asked to count backwards starting from a randomly given number or stand with your feet close together as you move your head in a backward direction, you should know that these are not approved DUI tests. A DUI defense counsel could give you valuable advice on possible legal actions to take after the performance of non-approved evaluations.
In some states, sobriety test results may not serve as admissible court evidence, although these may be used to perform an arrest. In South Carolina, however, drivers have to subject themselves to a chemical test if the police officer has already determined the need for such an evaluation. It is good to remember that although it is within your rights to refuse these tests, your refusal will still carry significant consequences.
The Need to Hire a Trustworthy DUI Attorney in Columbia, SC
Despite the NHTSA approval, these DUI tests are not 100% infallible. Some sobriety test results may, in fact, be erroneous, whether due to the incorrect administration of the tests or certain factors that interfere with an otherwise passing result, as in the case of chemical tests. There have been reported cases of police body cameras showing that drivers with failed DUI test results have in fact passed, especially after subsequent footage reviews.
The last thing you would want is to lose your license, spend time in jail, or pay a hefty fine when you have passed the sobriety test. If you feel that the DUI test in Columbia, SC was not performed in a fair manner or if you have further concerns about your case, a dedicated lawyer can help.
While a DUI is a serious offense, it does not always have to result in the worst possible scenario for you. A dependable DUI lawyer could sit down with you to examine and discuss your options, including the legality of administered sobriety tests.
Talk to Us at the Jeffcoat Law Firm to Get the DUI Lawyer You Need
If you or someone close to you has been arrested for a DUI offense in Columbia South Carolina, get in touch with a DUI attorney at the Jeffcoat Firm, so you will know which legal options work best for you and your case.
Mr. Jeffcoat, a native of the Columbia area, founded the law firm in 1999. Mr. Jeffcoat got his undergraduate degree at Wofford College in 1994, majoring in Political Economy and Philosophy, and then went to the University of South Carolina School of Law, where he received his J.D. in 1997. After working in two law firms following his graduation from law school, Jeffcoat ventured out on his own to launch The Jeffcoat Firm in March of 1999.