When you’re stopped at a DWI road block or checkpoint, the officers are going to request your license and insurance card. More importantly, they’re going to ask you if you’ve had anything to drink that night. Whether you answer no and they can smell an odor of alcohol or you answer yes, they may require you to step out of the vehicle and perform field sobriety tests.
If you’re arrested for a DWI in a roadblock, the officer has to be perform the operation under certain circumstances and requirements. The officers can’t just have an impromptu road block. They have to follow guidelines as to how the road block is employed, where the road block’s employed, and for what period of time. They also can’t stop certain cars and not stop other cars based on a suspicion or a hunch. They can stop every car. They can stop every third car, but they just can’t pick and choose.
Thereafter, there are field sobriety tests you may be requested to perform. There’s a series of tests they provide, including a HGN test where they track your eye movement by following a pen or their finger. If you’re under the influence of alcohol or certain types of drugs, the HGN test will offer officers evidence of an impairment. Though it may support the idea that you are impaired, it is not a scientific test.
Thereafter, they can have you walk a line, walking nine steps, turning, and coming back. As attorneys, we will look and see whether there was an actual line that you were set to follow or they just said follow an imaginary line. We will investigate whether the officers explained it and showed you how to perform the test, as they are obligated.
There’s also a finger-to-nose test. They can have you recite the alphabet. They can have you count. The officers will also make just general observations of your physical condition. They will observe whether you have an odor of alcohol on your breath, whether your eyes are bloodshot, whether your clothing is disheveled and if you have admitted to consuming alcohol. All of these factors will be considered when determining whether you are under the influence.
If the officer has suspicion, he or she can give you what’s called an Alco-sensor. It’s not actually a breathalyzer test. It’s a portable device that gives them a reading level that will help them determine whether or not a blood alcohol test will register an illegal amount back at the station. They can’t use it in court for either probable cause or guilt at trial. However, that’s the test they usually end with before they will arrest you and take you back to the station and request you to take an actual breathalyzer test.
The Law Office of Kevin T. Conway is a legal resource for the people of Rockland County facing various criminal charges, including DWIs, drug crimes, violent crimes, sex crimes, gun crimes, larceny, and juvenile matters. If you need a consultation, contact our Spring Valley law firm.