Maryland police typically use three types of field sobriety tests to determine whether probable cause exists to take someone into custody for suspected drunk driving. Police officers often administer these tests during traffic stops. If a driver fails a preliminary DUI test, the officer in question can make an arrest. It is the officer who determines whether the test-taker has passed or failed a field sobriety test.
The three tests most often used in Maryland include the walk-and-turn test, one-leg stance test and horizontal gaze nystagmus test. It is a good idea to be familiar with how each test is administered. It is also critical to understand that a motorist is not obligated to take roadside DUI tests during a traffic stop.
Basic overview of Maryland DUI field sobriety tests
The following list includes basic information regarding each type of DUI sobriety tests that Maryland police officers often use to determine probable cause to make a drunk driving arrest:
Walk-and-turn test: Driver is instructed to walk a straight line with arms held out at shoulder length, placing heel of one foot at the toe of the other.
One-leg stance test: Officer will tell the participant to stand on one leg, tilt head toward sky and count out loud in a series of numbers.
Horizontal gaze nystagmus test: Officer monitors eye movement while participant tracks an object left to right or up and down without moving his or her head.
If a participant fails to follow instructions correctly or stumbles or exhibits any movement or behavior that suggests he or she is acting under the influence of alcohol, the police officer administering the test may make a DUI arrest.
Criminal defense support is available
Facing charges for DUI in Maryland can have a negative effect on one’s personal and professional life, even before a case goes to trial. It is always best to seek legal support as soon as an arrest is made. A defense attorney can help determine what strategies or options have the greatest chance of producing a positive outcome in court.