DUI Field Sobriety Testing in New Jersey

Morristown New Jersey Drunk Driving Attorneys

Field Tests, as they are often termed, occur when a police officer orders a motorist to perform a series of psycho-physical tests. Some of these– the walk and turn test, walking heel to toe, and so forth, are commonly known. However, the instruction provided and the evidence of the performance of the tests represents critical factors in evaluation of virtually all DWI cases. Our Attorneys critically evaluate the patrol car video of the tests and we strip apart the police reports to determine the nature, extent, and accuracy of the instruction for the tests. Further, medical conditions and prior injuries affect a person’s performance and thus the reliability of the tests.

The Appellate Division, an intermediate appellate court in New Jersey, recently confronted the standard of suspicion, or evidence of unlawful activity, which justifies a police officer in ordering a motorist to perform field tests in a potential DWI traffic stop. In State v. Bernokeits, A-3150-10, the Appellate Division held that a field sobriety test is similar to an investigatory stop and the Court ruled that probable cause to order the motorist to perform the tests is not needed.

Unlike Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), which dealt only with a quick surface pat down of an individual based upon a reasonable suspicion that the person is armed (or has committed or is in the process of committing a crime,) here the Court is justifying government demands for the individual to perform a series of individual physical examinations over a greater period of time.

You need an experienced Denville, New Jersey DWI Attorney and Trial Attorney to protect your rights.

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