Field Sobriety Tests in NJ

Field Sobriety Test – DWI Lawyer Ewing NJ

If you are stopped for suspicion of driving while impaired, you can be asked to take field sobriety tests. However, NJ law does not actually require you to take field sobriety tests, which means that you cannot be charged with Refusal for declining to take a roadside test. This is in large part because field sobriety tests are extremely unreliable and often inaccurate.

Hamilton DUI Test Attorneys

The DWI defense lawyers at Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson have the expertise needed to challenge the results of your field sobriety tests and beat your DWI charges. We have represented clients accused of drunk driving in East Windsor, Princeton, and everywhere else in Mercer County, NJ for more than 40 years. Our DWI defense team includes strong litigators who will passionately advocate for you both in and out of the courtroom. Call KCR today to discuss your charges.

NJ Field Sobriety Tests

If you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, the police officer will likely ask you to perform field sobriety tests before they request that you submit to a breath test or a blood test. Only three field sobriety tests are admissible in court, and only two of these tests are admissible as proof that a driver was intoxicated.

  1. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test: This is also known as the “pen test.” The officer will ask you to follow a penlight with your eyes. The HGN is inherently flawed because most police officers are not sufficiently trained to administer the test. The HGN is also known to register false positives when the driver has a medical disorder or wears contacts. As a result, the test is not admissible in court as evidence of intoxication; it can only be used to establish probable cause for suspicion of DWI.
  2. Walk-and-Turn test: The officer will ask the driver to take several steps along a straight line, stop, turn around, and walk back along the same straight line. While the driver performs the test, the officer observes the driver and looks for signs of impairment, such as loss of balance, failure to walk in a straight line, and overreliance on arms to provide balance.
  3. One-Leg-Stand test: The driver is asked to stand on one leg while counting out loud. While the driver performs the test, the officer looks for indicators of impairment, including swaying while attempting to balance, hopping to maintain balance, and use of arms to provide balance, and failure to keep one foot off ground.

Other field sobriety tests include: heel-to-toe; finger-to-nose; fingers-to-thumb; alphabet recitation; and hand pat. However, these other tests are not admissible in court as proof of intoxication.

Challenge Field Sobriety Tests in Mercer County

Even standardized roadside field exercises are not reliable and can be challenged by an experienced DWI lawyer. If you failed a field sobriety test, it does not necessarily mean that you were impaired. The test failure could be explained by a number of factors, including:

  • Weather conditions: Particularly strong winds might explain your poor balance during a field sobriety test, or icy roads might have been the cause of poor driving.
  • Physical impairments or health conditions: Your performance on a field sobriety test can be profoundly affected by certain serious medical conditions or prior injuries.
  • Nervousness: It is perfectly understandable for you to be nervous when a police officer pulls you over for a suspected DWI. Unfortunately, nervousness can lead an officer to mistakenly perceive you as drunk.

Free Consultation with a Trenton DUI Attorney

Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson’s DWI attorneys are ready to fight your DWI charges and challenge the results of your field sobriety tests. Call us today, or fill out our online contact form to arrange a visit to our offices in Trenton or Pennington, NJ.

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