Did you know that in Pennsylvania, you do not have to submit to any type of field sobriety test? Unfortunately, not only are these sobriety tests set up for you to fail, but they have been proven to often be inaccurate.
In fact, various independent studies have shown on average that even one-third of sober people “fail” these tests because they are not administered correctly or because of another condition that someone may have such as poor balance skills. In addition, being subjected to these tests are typically high-stress situations where you cannot be expected to remember each instruction.
These tests are highly unreliable and more likely to result in your arrest than convincing a police officer to let you go. However, there is an implied consent law in Pennsylvania, which means refusing to take a field sobriety test can result in penalties such as license revocation.
If you are charged with a DUI/DWI in Scranton or the surrounding areas of northeast Pennsylvania, you need a criminal defense lawyer who knows how to provide solid field sobriety test defense by challenging the results of these examinations effectively. At Kalinoski Law Offices P.C., criminal defense attorney Craig P. Kalinoski represents people facing this situation after they have been accused of impaired driving. Contact us today to learn about how we can help you during a free initial consultation.
Different Field Sobriety Tests – None Are Reliable or Mandatory in Pennsylvania
The following are some of the field sobriety tests that are often administered by law enforcement during traffic stops for suspicion of drunk driving:
- The walk and turn
- The one-legged stand
- The horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) or “pen test,” not admissible in Pennsylvania courts
- Being asked to recite the alphabet backward, not admissible in Pennsylvania courts
- Hopping on one foot or touching your finger to your nose with your eyes closed, not admissible in Pennsylvania courts
Though these tests are not mandatory, and some cannot be used in court, you may wonder why officers continue to use them at DUI test points. The reality is, police will use these tests to provide “probable cause” for your DUI arrest. Without probable cause, they cannot move forward with the DUI.
Granted, these are not the only cues for drunk driving. If your car is swerving, an officer may pull you over. From there, if you are behaving in a crude manner, slurring your speech, etc. this in some cases can be enough to submit to a blood alcohol reading. Remember, there is no universal sign of intoxication, which is why officers will utilize the tests to determine probable cause.
If law enforcement concludes you performed poorly and have failed any of these tests, and exhibit signs of intoxication, they can then ask you to submit to a portable breath test (PBT). If you agree to have your blood alcohol content tested, and the result is a BAC of .08 or higher, you have provided reasonable suspicion for the police to take you into custody. Once arrested for DUI/DWI, you are required by law to give an official blood test, breath, or urine sample. If you refuse, you may be subject to a one-year license suspension penalty.
Our criminal defense lawyer knows how to successfully challenge field sobriety test results and provide thorough breath test defense representation. This can lead to a reduction in the charges and even dismissal. Our goal is to minimize all the consequences you are facing by providing an aggressive defense that challenges all the technical components leading to the charges.
Speak With a Knowledgeable Wilkes-Barre DUI Defense Lawyer Today
If you have been arrested in Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, or the surrounding region, don’t wait for a court date and don’t believe failing field sobriety tests automatically mean you are guilty. Discuss your case during a free initial consultation by calling 570-207-4000 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment.