When a client comes to me to discuss a DUI, there is always confusion regarding the officer’s use of field sobriety tests. First, a field sobriety test is just one tool at the officer’s disposal in forming probable cause to make an arrest for DUI. Pennsylvania courts have determined that reasonable grounds to arrest do not require the failure of a field sobriety test. Officers may use other indicators such as an odor of alcohol, disorientation or bloodshot eyes to establish probable cause. In addition, officers have breathalyzers available if the driver consents to submitting to one.
If, however, a driver does fail a field sobriety test, that failure constitutes sufficient circumstantial evidence that he or she is unable to drive safely and the officer may make an arrest based on the test. When an officer administers a field sobriety test to a motorist suspected of DUI, he is looking for certain indicators that illustrate that the driver is intoxicated. As the motorist completes the test, the officer often takes notes and keeps track of the driver’s performance on a field sobriety test with a scoring sheet. These notes help the officer keep track of the motorist’s performance and act as an aid if the case were to go to trial.
If you have been arrested for a DUI and have questions about the grounds for the arrest, it is important to speak with an experienced DUI attorney. Please contact our Pittsburgh law firm, Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates, with any DUI related questions. Depending on the circumstances, you may have the ability to fight the charges and have some or all of the evidence against you thrown out if it was obtained illegally.