UNDERSTANDING DUI TESTS
Jan. 27, 2022
According to the statistics from the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, there were 7,577 total DUI arrests in Connecticut in 2019. In Connecticut, a police officer may stop your vehicle on suspicion of drunk driving and ask you to submit to a field sobriety test or blood alcohol test.
In most cases, motorists are uninformed about their rights and responsibilities regarding DUI tests when pulled over by a law enforcement officer. As a result, multiple drivers usually end up in the worst-case scenario. Thankfully, understanding your rights and responsibilities with DUI tests and knowing what to do when pulled over by the officer can make your case feel more manageable.
At Dematteo Legal Solutions, I have the expertise, skill, and resources to guide and represent individuals facing DUI/OUI charges. As your legal counsel, I can help evaluate your unique circumstances and enlighten you about your rights and responsibilities with DUI tests – field sobriety, breath, urine, and blood tests – in Connecticut. A skilled Connecticut criminal defense attorney can seek to protect your driving privileges and help keep your record as clean as possible. My firm proudly represents clients across West Haven, Derby, Milford, Meriden, Bridgeport, New Haven, and Waterbury, Connecticut.
UNDERSTANDING IMPLIED CONSENT IN CONNECTICUT
Under Connecticut's Implied Consent Law, any individual who operates a car in the state is presumed to have given their consent to a chemical test – blood, breath, saliva, and or a urine test – to determine blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Therefore, if a police officer pulls you over for reasonable suspicion of DUI, you may be required to take a Breathalyzer or blood test. Should you refuse, you may be facing potential punishment and other ramifications.
BLOOD ALCOHOL TEST VS. SOBRIETY TEST
A blood alcohol test measures the amount of alcohol in your blood or body. It helps determine an accurate estimate of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). In the state of Connecticut, you are legally intoxicated – and may be facing OUI charges – if your BAC level is 0.08% or more. Under Connecticut law, blood alcohol tests are compulsory, and you must complete the test.
In contrast, law enforcement officers use field sobriety tests, such as the walk-and-turn, the horizontal gaze, and the one-leg stand tests to determine if a motorist is impaired. In reality, field sobriety tests don't accurately reflect whether or not someone is sober. Under Connecticut law, field sobriety tests are voluntary, and there is no punishment for refusal to take the test.
TYPES OF SOBRIETY TESTS
There are three standardized field sobriety tests approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These include:
The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test: This test helps determine whether the alleged drunk driver's eyes can follow a moving object in an irregular or smooth way.
The Walk-and-Turn Test: Here, the police officer will ask the alleged impaired driver to take nine steps along a straight line in a heel-to-toe style. After taking the nine steps, the driver will turn on one foot and return back to their starting spot in a similar way.
The One-Leg Stand Test: In the one-leg stand test, the police officer will ask the alleged drunk driver to stand on a single foot at about six inches above the ground and count aloud for approximately 30 seconds.
An experienced attorney can enlighten you about the consequences of refusal to take DUI tests in Connecticut.
CONSEQUENCES OF REFUSAL
Here are the consequences of refusing to take a field sobriety test or blood alcohol test:
Field Sobriety Test: As mentioned earlier, field sobriety tests are voluntary in Connecticut. You have the right to refuse to take a field sobriety test without facing any possible consequences.
Blood Alcohol Test: In Connecticut, refusal of chemical testing violates that state's implied consent law. Possible consequences for refusal include:
First offense – six-month license suspension
Second offense – one-year license suspension
Third and subsequent offense – three-year license suspension
Also, you may be facing additional penalties if you are convicted of operating under the influence (OUI). A skilled attorney can craft an effective strategy to fight your drunk driving charges and help you avoid the devastating consequences of a criminal conviction.
HOW LEGAL COUNSEL CAN HELP
Facing DUI charges in Connecticut can be an overwhelming experience. Notwithstanding your situation, understanding your rights and responsibilities with DUI tests and the consequences of chemical test refusal is vital to help you make informed decisions. Hence, if you have been arrested and charged with drunk driving, retaining an aggressive criminal defense attorney is imperative to protect your driving privileges and help build your defense strategy.
For over ten years, I've devoted my career to handling criminal cases and representing individuals who have been wrongly accused of drunk driving.
Contact my firm – Dematteo Legal Solutions – today to schedule a case assessment. I have the dedicated legal counsel and vigorous representation you need to fight your impaired driving allegations. My firm is proud to represent clients across West Haven, Derby, Milford, Meriden, Bridgeport, New Haven, and Waterbury, Connecticut.