Understanding Breathe and Field Sobriety Tests in New Jersey

breathe and field sobriety tests

If the New Jersey police arrest you on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, they will likely conduct one or more tests to confirm it. The most basic ones are using a breathalyzer or having you perform various physical tests. Police use these standard procedures to determine with a higher degree of certainty if a driver is under the influence.

Failing these tests does not mean a court will convict you. You can always contest the results based on known facts about the shortcomings of these methods. Here is a quick look at them.

Can You Refuse to Do the Tests?

Before you learn about tests, you need to understand the laws surrounding DUI in New Jersey. You may be thinking, “What is a DUI in New Jersey? ” The law uses alcohol levels in the blood to convict you of driving under the influence and determine the penalty. That’s why each test you get when arrested on suspicion of DUI is critical.

Unfortunately, DUI breath testing is mandatory under the New Jersey implied consent law. This law implies that once you get a driver’s license, you implicitly agree to submit to breathe tests whenever law enforcement asks them if they suspect you were driving while intoxicated. If you refuse to take the test, they will charge you with refusal charges on top of any other DUI charges.

Field Sobriety Tests

There are three parts to the sobriety tests. These include the horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk and turn, and one-leg stand. In horizontal gaze nystagmus, the police ask suspects to stare straight ahead while watching the involuntary side-to-side eye movements typical of drunkards. Most people under the influence cannot stare straight ahead without moving their eyes side-by-side.

The walk-and-turn component requires the suspect to walk in a straight line, heel-to-toe, before turning around and repeating the activity. They may also have to count their steps. The last test, the one-leg stand, involves standing on one leg for a few seconds. It tests the ability to have undivided attention while keeping both physical and mental faculties focused.

Breathe Test

Police in New Jersey use the Dräger Alcotest, a technical device that measures the alcohol levels in the breath. Proper calibration and certification are paramount to operate in the state and get accurate results. However, it can also be faulty, miscalibrated, or go without repairs. Mouth alcohol caused by acid reflux, chewing tobacco, burping, and diabetics’ breath may cause incorrect results.

The breath test is second to the field sobriety test. While the former occurs on the road, the second mostly occurs at a police station. The police may watch the suspect for about 20 minutes before administering the test. They then use the breath analyzer to collect the breath from your mouth. They then mix the samples with other chemicals to compute a BAC percentage. They let you go if the BAC measure meets a legal percentage below 0.08%. If you fail to allow the police to take the test, you will face refusal charges.

Seek Legal Assistance When Arrested for DUI

While these two tests are pretty accurate in helping determine if you are driving under the influence, they can also be faulty. For example, if you have walking difficulties, arthritis, or any joint condition, you may not be able to take walk-and-turn and one-leg stand tests. On the other hand, faulty equipment and your general health may affect the results of the breath analyzer.

Consider seeking legal assistance from a reputable law firm when arrested on suspicion of DUI and after failing any of the two tests. An experienced lawyer will look at the facts of the case and defend you in court.

Nicole Middleton
Nicole calls herself a typical millennial girl and thrives on her share of social media, celebrity gossip, and all things viral content. She’s a big fan of pop music and plays the guitar as a hobby.