Maryland DUI and Dexterity Tests
One way police officers attempt to compile evidence against a driver suspected of being under the influence is through dexterity tests, a form of field sobriety tests.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has not validated these tests. You have the right to decline to participate in any field sobriety test, and you also have the right to consult with an attorney before deciding whether you should participate in these tests.
Finger Dexterity Tests
This is a popular test that unfortunately allows the police officer a great deal of wiggle room in determining whether the driver is intoxicated. In this test, the driver is asked to pick a hand and then touch the tip of each of the fingers on that hand with the tip of his or her thumb. Simultaneously, the driver must count aloud (1, 2, 3, 4) and then repeat the process backwards.
In such nerve rattling circumstances as these, it’s no wonder that many people who aren’t intoxicated fail this test. Additionally, the officer can carefully scrutinize your performance and find flaws. This test is designed to divide the mind – motor skills and following directions simultaneously – and is much easier to fail than one would think.
More tests not recognized by the NHTSA include touching the tip of your nose with your finger and the Rhomberg stationary balance test, where the driver stands with his feet together and looks up while keeping his arms out. These are not standardized methods of administration like other tests for impairment. They often don’t stand up in court and are not recognized by the scientific community as valid. The only three standardized field sobriety tests are the one leg stand, the walk and turn, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.
However, even the standardized field sobriety tests are often less reliable than breathalyzers or other methods of analyzing breath or blood alcohol content – and none of those are accurate 100 percent of the time.
Field dexterity tests are one of the ways law enforcement gathers information during DUI stops; information that is only intended to incriminate you. If you find yourself facing DUI charges in Maryland, DUI Defense attorney Andrew Alpert can help you. He has received specific training on defending DUI cases and DUI related issues, is certified to own and operate breath testing instruments, is a certified breath alcohol technician on multiple instruments and is one of only a few lawyers in the state who is a certified NHTSA field sobriety test instructor. For more information on how Andrew Alpert or one of his associates can help defend you against your DUI charges, contact Alpert Schreyer, LLC today at (301) 262-7005 or (866) 444-6363.