Hartford Sobriety Checkpoints & Traffic Stops Attorneys
Protecting your legal rights after field sobriety tests in Manchester and Hartford, CT
There are many reasons you may be pulled over by a police officer. You may be suspected of speeding, texting while driving, or another traffic infraction. However, in more serious situations, officers may stop you or direct you aside at a sobriety checkpoint because they suspect you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
These stops are within an officer’s rights under the Constitution – however, the officer must follow proper procedure while also maintaining your constitutional rights. An automatic search of your vehicle without probable cause is not legal, except under some extreme circumstances. If you are pulled over and charged with DUI, it doesn’t mean a conviction. You have options.
The Hartford DUI defense attorneys at Barry, Barall & Spinella, LLC have decades of experience advocating for the rights of people just like you. We can help work for the best possible outcome for your case. Call us today for a consultation.
Field sobriety tests
A field sobriety test, or FST, is a visual test designed to help officers decide if drivers have been operating their vehicles under the influence. An FST isn’t the only way an officer can justify probable cause to arrest an individual for drunk driving, but it is one tool at his or her disposal. However, if an FST is administered incorrectly or unfairly, or does not adhere to standard protocol, our attorneys may use this as a defense for your case.
Standard protocol for FST calls for them to be administered in a specific manner and sequence. When performed in this order, they’re the most reliable, and any deviation from this sequence could call the results into question.
Common field sobriety tests
There are three standard field sobriety tests:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus test – designed to test the jerkiness of the eyes
- Walk and turn test – designed to test if the individual can divide his or her attention
- One-legged stand – designed to test the individual’s balance
However, if a person with a medical condition takes an FST, it’s important he or she let the officer know. Conditions like arthritis and surgeries, or any conditions that affect balance, can affect the results of a field sobriety test and should be noted and included on a police report. Our Hartford DUI defense attorneys can explain more.
What to do at a sobriety stop in Hartford
If you encounter a sobriety checkpoint, remember you have certain rights and protections. You’re not required to admit to breaking any laws or to being under the influence of any alcohol or drugs. This is part of your constitutional rights under the Fifth Amendment.
Additionally, you can’t be forced to answer a police officer’s questions or make any statements without an attorney present. If an officer begins questioning you during a traffic stop or sobriety check, you may politely decline until you have an attorney.
Your rights at a sobriety or DUI checkpoint in CT
Experienced DUI defense attorneys advise keeping the following things in mind if you encounter a sobriety check or are pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence. Keeping calm, polite, and remembering your rights can be beneficial to your case later on. You’re not required to answer every question or take certain sobriety tests, but it’s crucial to remember that being uncooperative can result in further evaluation or an arrest.
If you are pulled over and questioned by authorities, they may ask you a lot of questions. You are within your rights not to answer any questions until you have an attorney. Do not confess to anything – but don’t lie, either, as you do not want to provide authorities with any incriminating evidence.
After authorities are finished with their questioning, you’re free to go. However, if they request you take a field sobriety test and you refuse, this could be held against you later in court. It’s not illegal to refuse a field sobriety test, but if officers have probable cause to believe you were drinking, they may arrest you and perform chemical tests back at the station.
If you’re arrested at a sobriety checkpoint, call the Hartford attorneys at Barry, Barall & Spinella, LLC immediately, and we can help defend your rights.
Implied consent laws
Most states in the country, Connecticut included, follow implied consent laws. These laws mean that, when you sign for your driver’s license, you consent to urine, blood, or breath tests. Refusing these tests comes with an immediate penalty, typically suspension of license and other possible penalties.
Even if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above the legal limit, you still have defenses to your case. Any mistakes made by law enforcement personnel in collecting or handling evidence and may be grounds for dismissal of evidence and your entire case.
The consequences of a DUI or OUI conviction can be serious and expensive, with possible jail time. However, it’s important to remember that you are always innocent until proven guilty. Our Hartford attorneys are here to protect your rights and guide you through the legal process so you don’t have to fight the charges alone.
Local Hartford DUI & sobriety checkpoint lawyers
At Barry, Barall & Spinella, LLC, our attorneys understand that field sobriety tests and checkpoints are fallible and so are the personnel who administer them. We investigate all aspects of your arrest and charges, and put together a strong defense on your behalf. Contact us today. To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers in Hartford or Manchester, please call 860-649-4400 or fill out our contact form.