Getting a DUI in Aiken can have a dramatic effect on every area of your life. The financial toll can total thousands of dollars, while being unable to drive can impact your ability to get to work or provide for your family. Attending hearings and mandated court treatments takes up valuable time, and a conviction could ruin your personal and professional reputation. Standardized tests used when drivers get pulled over represent a significant portion of the evidence against you. The following outlines the different types of tests used and defenses against DUI tests that may apply in your case.
Standardized Testing For DUI In South Carolina
Law enforcement officials in South Carolina and throughout the country rely on Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) to help determine when a driver is under the influence during a traffic stop. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), these tests were developed in the 1970s and are admissible in DUI court hearings. They consist of three individual tests designed to uncover impairment:
Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test. This is when the officer asks you to follow a pen or flashlight as he moves it side to side in front of your face. It is designed to trigger the horizontal gaze nystagmus, which is an involuntary jerking of the eyeball that occurs under normal circumstances when turned at sharp angles. When impaired, this jerking is likely to occur at lesser intervals.
The walk-and-turn test. This generally involves the officer asking you to walk a straight line, heel to toe for a certain number of steps. It gauges your ability to follow directions and test your sense of balance, both of which are impaired by alcohol use.
The one-leg stand test. The officer will ask you to stand with one foot approximately six inches off the ground while balancing on the other and holding the position. Again, it tests your balance, your ability to follow directions, and whether you might be under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
Your success—or failure—in completing the above tests will dictate whether you are placed under arrests and if additional breath or blood alcohol content (BAC) is required. Under the South Carolina Code, driving with a BAC level of .08 percent or greater will result in DUI charges.
Defenses Against DUI Tests
There are a few defenses that can be used to dispute standardized test results, which could cast doubt on your arrest and the gathering of other evidence against you. These include:
The police failed to videotape testing, which is required by law
The officer made mistakes while administering the test
The test was conducted under poor or dangerous conditions
There were language barriers that prevented you from understanding the instructions
We can also dispute the validity of these tests and whether they are actually a good indicator for determining impairment.
Contact Our Aiken DUI Attorney Today
If you have been charged with DUI, get the Surasky Law Firm, LLC fighting on your side. To schedule a consultation, call or contact our Aiken DUI attorney online today.