Cognitive Tests

Maryland DWI & Cognitive Tests

What are some common cognitive tests in Maryland?

So-called cognitive tests to determine whether a driver has been drinking are not standardized and are not a good indicator of impairment.

There are only three standardized field sobriety tests: the one leg stand, the walk and turn, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. However, even these are not completely accurate measures.

Many drivers opt not to take any field sobriety tests, as is their right in the state of Maryland. Drivers also have the right to decline taking a breathalyzer test, but this decision results in a minimum 120-day license suspension and other stiffer penalties.

Counting Tests

Though not proven to be effective, many police officers use counting tests. One example is rapidly flashing their fingers and asking the driver how many fingers he or she sees. Since the police officer is controlling the means of the test, obviously they have an advantage.

Another common test is asking the driver to count backwards, starting from a certain number. As is the case with most field sobriety tests, police officers are looking for more than one indicator of impairment. They are looking to see if the driver can remember directions and to determine if the driver’s speech is slurred.

These tests are not as easy as they seem, but become particularly difficult in a situation where you could be facing serious criminal charges. Additionally, they’re not excellent indicators of whether your blood alcohol level is beyond the legal limit, which in Maryland is .07 for driving while intoxicated, unless you are under the age of 21.

Alphabet Tests

One other popular test is demanding that the driver recite the alphabet or a portion of the alphabet. The police officer will mark down any error made by the driver, including pausing for a few seconds or saying a letter slowly.

With any of these field sobriety examinations, the police officer is looking to compile evidence against the driver, which will probably also include a breath alcohol concentration test and physical observations. However, mistakes and inaccuracies are possible in all of these cases and it is important that you have someone looking out for your rights and someone who understands the complex web of state DUI laws. To help you minimize the damage of your DUI arrest contact Bowie DWI attorney Andrew Alpert or one of his associates by calling Alpert Schreyer, LLC at (301) 262-7005 or (866) 444-6363 today.