In Virginia, there is an implied consent law, which means that when you drive in the state, you are consenting to be tested at any time should an officer suspect you are operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Therefore it is illegal to refuse to submit to a blood or breath test if asked. Read more about blood or breath tests here. The standard field sobriety test is a battery of three tests, administered in a standardized way in order to validate possible impaired drivers. The tests included are the horizontal gaze nystagmus, which is also referred to as the HGN; the walk and turn test; and the one-leg stand test. The tests are evaluated according to observed responses of the driver. During the HGN, an officer will ask the driver to follow an object, likely a pen, with their eyes and watch for sudden, jerky movements.
Secondly, an officer will ask a suspect driver to walk heel-to-toe in a straight line for the walk and turn test. The officer will watch for one's balance and agility. Finally, during the one-leg stand test, an officer will ask the driver to stand on one leg while counting aloud. If the driver is swaying, using their arms for balance, hopping to maintain balance or is putting their foot down early, they may be considered impaired and may be subject to additional testing. The field sobriety tests are not mandatory and may be refused without any adverse criminal consequences. The police may also offer a preliminary breath test which is a hand-held device given to a driver while on the scene which also estimates a person's blood alcohol level.
This test is also not required to be taken by a driver suspected of DUI or DWI. These tests are usually administered in addition to a blood or alcohol test to determine the blood alcohol content of the driver. If you are facing DUI or DWI charges, it is imperative you speak to an experienced Virginia DUI lawyer.
We understand that no case is usually as cut and dry as a prosecutor wants you to believe. We can examine if the tests were administered properly or if there are constitutional grounds by which your charges should be dismissed. The tests, including the blood alcohol content tests must be administered and documented precisely, or they can be inadmissible. Call the Virginia DWI attorneys at the Law Offices of Patrick N. Anderson and Associates today for your free, initial consultation.