Wednesday, October 28, 2009

DWI Sobriety Testing

By Richard Milford

Regardless of where you live there is much more to being stopped for a DWI, or driving while intoxicated, than just showing your license and vehicle registration. If you are pulled over by the police under suspicion of driving while intoxicated, then you are most likely going to be asked to go through some tests which will either prove that you are sober or if you are intoxicated.

Once you are charged with a DWI then you will have to go to court, pay fines, hire a lawyer and maybe even pay medical bills. If you are also convicted of the charge then you might have to go to jail for a certain amount of time which can range from just a few days to even several years, but this depends on the severity of your particular case charges. However, before any of that happens you will first have to perform a number of tests that will allow the police officer to determine the level of your intoxication.

The first tests to be conducted are known as field sobriety tests and these have the objective of testing your balance and coordination. Of these, the most common test requested by the police is the so-called walk the line test. For this an officer will draw a straight line on the ground and then have you walk along it as straight as possible in about nine to ten heel -to-toe steps. After reaching the end you will have to turn around and repeat while walking back towards the officer.

A popular sobriety test is the horizontal eye test and this is done with the police officer using either a finger or pen. The object is moved and you will have to follow that movement with only your eyes and without moving your head. If someone is intoxicated, then it is normal to show jerking eye movements. However, those who are sober will have no problems with the test.

The police may also ask you to stand on one leg for a period of time and then switch legs and repeat the process with that leg. The objective of this test is to see if you can stand up on one leg without falling down or wobbling. The officer can vary this test if you have any physical disabilities and it depends upon age.

Trouble completing any of those tests will lead to the officer thinking that you are intoxicated and then you may be asked to undergo the breathalyzer test. To perform this test you will have to breathe into the device and then it will determine how the quantity of alcohol that you have running through your blood. If your results are over what the legal limit is then you will be read the Miranda Rights and put in jail.

In some cases, you may be required to have a blood test done to get a precise blood alcohol count. Once arrested you will be given a court date and the amount of bail may be set. It can be very beneficial for you to seek the advice of a DWI attorney to help with your case. You may end up doing some jail time as well with the amount of time varying from a few days to years depending on how many convictions you may have.

A DWI is nothing to laugh about, especially since many people are killed in accidents caused by drunk drivers and that includes the offender too. The best thing is to have a designated driver or just phone a taxi so that you, your friends and those around you will all get home in one piece.

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