Were you one of approximately 16 million to visit Myrtle Beach or another South Carolina vacation location this year? The state boasts many popular spots that provide myriad opportunities for summer adventure. Perhaps you rented an expansive beach house and gathered with your entire extended family for an ocean front-week of fun, or maybe you chose a quaint little bungalow for two and visited the shore with a special someone. Such times can be the makings of wonderful lifelong memories unless, of course, something goes wrong.
Any number of things can ruin your summer vacation, from inclement weather conditions to getting pulled over in a traffic stop as you navigate busy beach town roadways. Even that might not ruin your entire vacation although it might, if bad goes to worse and a police officer asks you to step out of your vehicle and perform a field sobriety test.
Sobering facts regarding FSTs
Do you know that although there are federal guidelines to oversee the FST process, many states do not adhere to those standards? That’s why it’s important for you to understand the way of doing things in the particular state you happen to be when a law officer requests your cooperation in one or more tests. The following list describes the three main types of FSTs:
- One-leg stance: When you were a child, you likely had contests with your siblings or friends to see who could stand on one leg the longest. As an adult, that activity may not be as much fun, especially if the person asking you to do it is a uniformed police officer. He or she may also ask you to count by thousands while holding one of your legs at least six inches off the ground. If your balance is off kilter or your appear confused or disoriented in any way during the test, your near future may include a court appearance for DUI charges.
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus: This type of eye test is different from any you may have undergone at your local optometrist’s office. If a police officer asks you to take this test, he or she is observing whether you exhibit erratic eye movements often associated with intoxication. If you are alcohol impaired, you may also have trouble tracking objects moving side-to-side or up and down.
- Walk and turn: If you are the type of person who trips over his or her own feet a lot, you may find this FST especially challenging. A police officer may ask you to walk a straight line with arms raised to the side at shoulder height while placing the heel of one foot to the tip of the toes of the other foot. If you have to turn and perform the same movements in the opposite direction, your anxiety level may continue to rise.
If the law enforcement agent conducting an FST determines you have not passed a particular test, he or she may file DUI charges against you. You’d no doubt recognize the seriousness of your situation, especially if you were enjoying a few summer vacation alcoholic beverages earlier that evening, . If a police officer also requests that you submit to chemical tests, you would be wise to exercise your right to seek a strong criminal defense.
Knowing what type of support is available ahead of time can make such situations less stressful. In fact, you can request legal representation the moment a police officer detains you; if a request to step out of your vehicle is made, consider yourself detained. The choices you make from that point on (including whether to retain defense assistance) may mean the difference between avoiding conviction and losing your driver’s license or your freedom.