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Field Sobriety Testing in Illinois

December 23rd, 2015 at 4:54 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois dui lawyer, Illinois criminal lawyer, Law enforcement in Illinois takes driving under the influence of alcohol very seriously. Police regularly conduct DUI checkpoints, and pull over drivers who are suspected of operating a vehicle while under the influence. Before making an arrest, officers generally will ask a suspected drunk driver to participate in field sobriety testing, in accordance with 625 ILCS 5/11-501.2(a-5).

What Are the Standard Field Sobriety Tests in Illinois?

Many people have heard of field sobriety tests, but are not clear on what these tests are or what they entail until they are faced with them while pulled over on the side of the road. The standard field sobriety tests (FST) were developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and consist of three tests designed to present indicators of intoxication of an individual. The tests include:

  • The One Leg Stand. Under this test, a suspect is required to stand on one leg, raising one foot off the ground six inches and must maintain his or her balance for a full 30 seconds;
  • The Walk-and-Turn. A suspect is instructed to execute the test according to the officer’s instructions exactly. The instructions require the suspect to walk nine steps forward in a heel-to-toe fashion in a straight line, turn around on one leg, and walk nine steps backwards; and
  • The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. When a person is under the influence of alcohol, they may exhibit involuntary jerky eye movements, or the inability to smoothly visually track an object.

These tests assess physiological responses to alcohol, such as slow movement, poor sense of balance and poor memory function, to determine whether a driver might be intoxicated.

How Accurate Are These Tests?

One might wonder how accurate FSTs can be when people have medical conditions, are panicked by being pulled over by law enforcement, or have other legitimate reasons for not being able to perform the FSTs perfectly. Research conducted for the NHTSA on just how accurate these tests are at determining whether a suspect is under the influence reveals that:

  • The one leg stand test is accurate about 83 percent of the time;
  • The walk-and-turn test is only accurate 79 percent of the time; and
  • The horizontal gaze nystagmus test is accurate 88 percent of the time.

Field sobriety tests are voluntary, and you can refuse to participate in them. While there are consequences of not submitting to FSTs, it can be helpful if you are later charged since you will not have those tests as evidence against you. Failing one of these tests often gives the officer probable cause to make an arrest.

Let Our Attorneys Help You

Being arrested for a DUI is serious business. If you are facing DUI charges, you refused to submit to field sobriety testing, or you refused to submit to a breathalyzer or some other chemical testing to determine your blood alcohol concentration, you will need to consult with an experienced DUI criminal defense attorney. Your lawyer can discuss what options are available to you. Please contact a dedicated Rolling Meadows DUI attorney immediately at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. You can reach us at (847) 394-3200 today.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501.2

http://dwitrialprep.com/sfst_anacopa_1998.pdf

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Written by Staff Writer

December 23rd, 2015 at 4:54 pm

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