November marks the beginning of the holiday season. For you and other Californians, this time of year can include office parties and get-togethers at restaurants or bars. Whatever your occasion for celebrating, alcohol might be a part of your festivities. Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Matthew C. Bishop, Inc., feel it is important to remind you that regardless of how responsible you are about your drinking, you might find yourself facing drunk driving charges, even if you had not been drinking enough to qualify for a DUI.
One of the most commonly used tools to screen someone as a potential drunk driver is the field sobriety test, reports NBC 29 News. If you are pulled over during the holiday season, the officer might ask you to perform a number of actions that could give the officer reason to believe you are intoxicated. These include the one-leg stand, the walk-and-turn and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. During the test, your balance, coordination and ability to understand and follow directions will be measured. The officer will also study your eye movements and pay attention to your behavior and speech patterns.
Depending on numerous factors, you might be arrested if the officer believes you drank too much before getting behind the wheel, even if you had not had a drink. How can this happen? You might have natural difficulties balancing, or an injury that makes it hard to stand on one foot or walk in a straight line. If you have red eyes due to allergies or fatigue, or a speech impediment, the officer might mistake these as signs of intoxication. You could simply find it nerve-wracking to perform the tests under this kind of scrutiny and make a mistake.
After an arrest following a failed field sobriety test, you have the right to defend yourself. You may learn more about drunk driving charges by visiting our criminal law page.