Voluntary Roadside Maneuvers
In most DUI stops, the stopping officer will ask the suspect to exit the car and submit to voluntary roadside manuevers, also commonly referred to as field sobriety tests. In Colorado, police officers usually employ three types of manuevers. First, there is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which consists of an officer asking the suspect to follow their finger or the tip of a pen with their eyes while keeping the head still. The officers are looking for twitching of the eyes, which can be an indicator of alcohol consumption (although there are many causes for this jerking other than alcohol use). The second manuever is the Walk and Turn, where the officer has the suspect walk heel to toe in a straight line. The third manuever is the One Leg Stand, where the officer has the suspect stand on one leg for about 30 seconds. These manuevers are designed to be difficult, and even a sober person may have difficulty performing them well.
Suspects of DUI stops should politely refuse to complete the maneuvers. In most cases, the officer is not using the maneuvers to determine whether or not a person is safe to drive as most people would think. Rather, the officer has already made the decision to arrest the driver and are using the maneuvers to further build their case against the suspect. These manuevers are very subjective; a person does only as well as the officer dictates, and if they already suspect a person for DUI, their evaluation may be biased.
Note: A chemical test (blood or breath) IS NOT a voluntary roadside maneuver. Unlike voluntary roadside manuevers, motorists can be penalized for refusing a chemical test by the Department of Motor Vehicles with the revocation of their driver’s license for a year or more.
If you have any further questions about voluntary roadside manuevers for a DUI charge, contact our Denver Criminal attorney today for more information.
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