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Darien Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests in Darien are supposed to tell an officer whether a person has an elevated blood alcohol content. They are not always 100% accurate, but are relied on by almost every police department.

If you have been charged with a crime because of a Darien field sobriety test, it is imperative that you consult with a knowledgeable DUI lawyer as soon as possible. A knowledgeable attorney can help craft a defense to help minimize any consequences you may be facing.

Testing Procedures

There are various field sobriety tests an officer may employ in Darien to determine an individual’s level of sobriety. First, an officer will instruct that an individual perform the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.

This is where the officer stands directly in front of a person and holds up either a finger or the tip of a pen. Then, starting with the left eye, the officer will have the person follow the pen or their finger over to one side, back to the center, and then repeat the process with the other eye.

A nystagmus is defined as a twitching or jerking of the eye. During this test, law enforcement is looking to see if a person's eye is jerking as they move the object in front of the individual. If it does, that indicates to them that the person must be under the influence of alcohol.

The second field sobriety test that an officer in Darien will administer is the heel-to-toe or walk-and-turn. This is when an officer dictates that an individual either follow a line on the road or some sort of imaginary line, walk heel-to-toe along that line for a certain amount of steps, turn, and then walk back. An officer will look to see if the individual must lift their arms to balance, if they are stumbling, or if they come off the line or take the wrong number of steps. These are all clues of intoxication.

The one-legged stand is the simplest field sobriety test in Darien. An officer will see if a person can stand on one leg for a certain amount of time without putting their other foot down or using their arms to help balance themselves.

Refusal to Participate

An individual can refuse to perform any sort of field sobriety test in Darien under any circumstance. The officers cannot force them to do it.

Standard Administration

There is a certain standardized way to administer field sobriety tests in Darien. The officers must follow certain steps that they should be trained in before administering these tests. This is necessary because if the proper steps are not taken, it decreases the reliability of the tests overall. The tests may still be admissible, but it will detract from their weight if they are not properly followed.

Preexisting Impairments

The officers usually ask if there is any impairment that might prevent an individual from performing a Darien field sobriety test. For example, someone may have something wrong with their knee or back, and they may not be able to do the walk-and-turn or the one-legged stand test. If there are certain neurological or eye conditions, that also could cause someone to not be able to perform the horizontal gaze nystagmus test even if they are sober.

Many times, these might be noted on an individual’s license, especially for those impairments involving eyesight. Officers are instructed to ask the person before administering the test if they have any sort of conditions, and if they do, an officer must note that. In some circumstances, officers are instructed to not even bother to perform any Darien field sobriety tests.