It has happened to a lot of motorists in Maryland. They look in their rearview mirror only to see flashing blue and red lights. Their heart skips a beat, they stop, and they’re approached by an officer who subsequently accuses them of drunk driving. The ramification can be significant, too. A drunk driving conviction can lead to serious penalties, which may include jail time, fines, license suspension or revocation, and damage to your reputation.
If you find yourself facing DUI or DWI charges, then you’re probably wondering how best to approach your case. Some people are eager to accept a plea deal that imposes lesser penalties, but that might not be right for you. This is especially true if you didn’t provide a breath test at any point during your arrest. In these circumstances, the prosecution doesn’t have a blood alcohol content analysis on which to rely, so they must turn to observations of a motorist’s driving and behavior during field sobriety tests.
There are multiple field sobriety tests that are regularly used in Maryland, with the horizontal gaze nystagmus being one of them. This test requires you to follow an object, usually a pen or a finger, with your eyes and without turning your head as it is moved from side-to-side. The officer conducting the test will then look for certain indicators of intoxication, which may include a failure to follow instructions, jerking eye movements at certain points, and a lack of smooth pursuit as the object moves.
Field sobriety tests are far from reliable, though, and they are entirely based on the appropriateness of the officer’s administration of them. This leaves a lot of room for interpretation and error, meaning that accused motorists may be able to craft compelling legal arguments that attack the foundation of the charges against them. By being aggressive, these accused individuals may be able to gain some leverage at the negotiation table, or they might be able to obtain an acquittal at trial.
No two cases are alike, though, which is why if you’re considering legal help you need to think about finding an advocate who will give you the customized criminal defense you deserve.