As DUI attorneys in South Carolina, we are aware that you may not be intimately familiar with a field sobriety test because most people aren’t until it’s too late. In this blog, we will go over the most pertinent information to know about field sobriety tests in South Carolina so you can be fully informed about this process.
If you have been pulled over under suspicion of driving under the influence, a police officer may request field sobriety tests to determine your level of intoxication. You have a right to refuse to participate in field sobriety tests. Unlike refusing to take a breathalyzer, field sobriety tests do not fall under the implied consent laws in South Carolina, which dictate that if you receive a driver’s license in our state, you consent to future blood, urine, or breath alcohol tests. Therefore, you don’t face the same penalties for refusing field sobriety tests as you do when refusing breathalyzer tests, which include losing your driver’s license for six months. However, an officer may arrest you under suspicion of DUI because you refused sobriety testing, so keep this in mind if you find yourself in this situation.
What Happens During Field Sobriety Tests?
First, keep in mind that your field sobriety tests must be videotaped to act as a witness for both the motorist and the police officer. In the state of South Carolina, police officers use the standard battery of field sobriety tests as outlined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). One of these tests alone isn’t sufficient to determine sobriety or intoxication. According to the NHTSA, a combination of the first three tests is a fairly reliable determination of sobriety, but a completely accurate series of tests has not yet been determined.
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN): During the HGN test, the officer uses a pen or similar object and asks you to follow it with your eyes as they wave it back and forth over your face. This is supposed to test your physiological response time; when your eyes jerk or shake, it allegedly indicates intoxication.
- Walk-and-Turn (WAT): For the WAT test, the officer will ask you to walk heel to toe with your hands at your side for 12 steps, then turn around and walk back. This is a challenge even for sober people, and can be more challenging in different contexts, such as during bad weather, on a sloped road, or while wearing high heels.
- One-Leg Stand (OLS): The officer will also ask you to stand with your feet together, then raise one foot and count to 30 to judge if your balance is impaired.
The officer may also choose to perform one of these non-standardized tests in addition to the tests listed above. Non-standardized sobriety tests should not be used to analyze probable cause in a court of law, and may be challenged on these grounds.
- ABC/number testing: In this test, the officer will ask you recite the alphabet or a series of numbers either forwards or backwards.
- Finger-to-nose test: During this test, the officer will ask you to close your eyes and place your index finger on your nose.
- Rhomberg balance test: For the Rhomberg balance test, the officer will ask you to close your eyes and tilt your head up and down for 30 seconds. This tests whether you can stay still and your sense of time.
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, The De Bruin Law Firm may be able to help you. When you are looking for an experienced DUI attorney in South Carolina, contact us.
What will a criminal defense attorney do for my case?
Once I have evaluated your case I will provide you an overview of your case. This will describe among other things the criminal law process, how we will work together to navigate the criminal justice system, and what expectation I have for you as a client and what expectations you should have for me as your defense attorney.
What should my attorney do to prepare my case for trial?
I collect not only the evidence that the government is required to supply, but also gather my own evidence for your defense as well. I will talk to witnesses, look for other video from third party sources, and go to the scene of the alleged offense. I believe your case is far to important not to go the extra mile to insure we know all the facts for your case, to provide you the best possible defense.
What do I need to do to help my attorney defend me?
No one cares more about your case than you. While we prepare your case, we also prepare your for trial. The one thing we need most from you is total honesty. Remember, everything you and I talk about is confidential. I am on your side.
For Drug offense cases, we may require you to look into a rehabilitation facility. I have had client’s charged with drug crimes who unfortunately we suffering from serious addiction and needed help, not jail. When I was able to convince those clients to make the difficult decision and enter a rehabilitation facility it helped create a positive situation that made negotiating their case more favorable. Many criminal cases last over a year. If I can help get a client suffering from an addition on the path to recovery while defending them from their criminal drug charges, their future becomes much more optimistic, and often, so does their case. Changing your life prior to trial or before a plea will greatly decrease your changes of going to jail. We are here to help not only with your legal needs, but also to help you in life. We have seen success stories and want you to be one too.
How much does a criminal defense attorney cost?
Your attorney’s fees will be based on multiple things including but not limited to, the severity of the crime, the evidence against you, prior convictions, and the amount of jail time your are facing if convicted. For criminal defense services I charge my client’s a flat fee on almost all cases at the start of their case. Therefore, you know how much your case will cost on day one.
I also am aware that many people are unable to afford to pay thousands of dollars upfront. In order to better serve my clients I offer a payment plan option. If you’d like to see if you qualify for our criminal defense payment plan option please contact us by using our form, or call us directly at (864) 372-2896.
Who will handle my case?
How do you know the attorney you hire is the attorney who will represent you during the entire process? I personally guarantee that I will handle every part of your criminal case, you will not be passed of t a junior attorney.
Aaron De Bruin | Criminal Defense Attorney
For over 10 years, Aaron De Bruin has been dedicated to representing clients within the criminal justice system. Aaron is committed to relentlessly providing his clients the legal counsel they deserve during the difficult times associated with a criminal charge. He prides himself on the ability to defend his clients and constantly seek the most favorable outcome for their individual situation.
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