Indicators and defenses for DUI charges

| Nov 30, 2020 | Campus Crimes |

Between classes, long hours of homework and the pressure to get a good job after graduation, Pennsylvania college students have plenty of stress. Spending time socializing with friends and classmates is one of the most common ways students relieve that stress. If you drink at one of these gatherings and then get behind the wheel, you risk a driving while intoxicated charge if officers pull you over.

According to American Addiction Centers, police officers often use field sobriety tests when they suspect drivers of being under the influence of alcohol. The three parts of the tests include the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk and turn test and the one-leg stand test.

Indicators

Officers look for different indicators in each part of the test that suggest intoxication. During the horizontal gaze nystagmus, they look for jerking of the eyeball. If your eye cannot follow an object moving side to side smoothly, the officer may charge you with DUI. For the walk-and-turn test, impaired indicators include the following:

  • Losing your balance while turning
  • Not touching heal-to-toe
  • Beginning before the officer finish instructions
  • Taking an incorrect number of steps
  • Using arms to balance

For the one-leg stand test, if you maintain balance by hopping, sway while balancing, put your foot down or use your arms for balance, the officers may take you to the station for driving while intoxicated.

Defenses

While studies indicate that these tests provide indications of intoxication, they are not 100% accurate. Officers must administer the tests according to specific guidelines. If they fail to do so, you have grounds for contesting the tests. Physical conditions, such as an inner ear problem or neurological issues, can affect a sober person, making them unable to perform the necessary actions for the test, which also provides grounds for contestation.

A DUI conviction while in college can affect scholarships and potentially result in losing your housing or expulsion from school. A strong defense can help you avoid the collateral consequences of a DUI and allow you to move past the charges.