There's no law in North Carolina saying you can't get together with your friends at your favorite restaurant for a few drinks. Once your evening winds down, however, you may face several decisions, one of which may be whether you will get behind the wheel of a car and drive yourself (and perhaps someone else) home. If you are age 21 or older, you likely already know there are very strict laws regarding drinking alcohol and driving.
That said, just because you imbibed alcohol on your fun night out does not necessarily mean you are guilty of a crime if you drive home. It may be quite disconcerting when police pull you over in a traffic stop. In fact, that's a surefire way to ruin a good time. If an officer thinks you've been drinking, he or she may ask you to perform Standardized Field Sobriety Tests.
When a difficult moment gets worse
Even if you haven't consumed a single drop of alcohol, if a uniformed police officer starts asking you official questions and requests that you submit to tests meant to gauge your coordination and skill in certain areas, your stress level may soar through the roof. By reviewing the following list containing information about SFSTs, you may be able to minimize your circumstances:
- The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration endorses the SFST system.
- There are generally three main types of tests that a police officer who suspects you of drunk driving may ask you to perform. Each test is geared to measure various cognitive and physical abilities in order to determine if you may be driving while impaired.
- Whether you're able to track an object from side-to-side with your eyes is part of the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test. You have natural movements that take place in your eyes when you track things with side-to-side movement. If you have high levels of alcohol in your system, these movements may become exaggerated.
- A police officer may also ask you to walk a straight line with your arms held at shoulder level to either side. You also must be able to place the heel of one foot in front of the toes on the other. When you reach the end of the line, you're supposed to turn around and head in the opposite direction.
- When you were young, you may have challenged siblings or friends to see who could stand on one foot the longest. Officers use this test as part of the SFST system. They may add another challenge simultaneously, however. They may ask you to count out loud by certain numbers while doing it.
SFSTs are accurate more than 90 percent of the time. If you wind up going to trial for possible drunk driving, the court may use evidence from your SFSTs against you.
To help overcome such problems, many North Carolina residents reach out for support from experienced attorneys who can aggressively fight against charges by combating strategies and tactics set forth by prosecutors.