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Standard Sobriety Field Tests in Maine

A standard sobriety field test occurs when an officer has probable cause that a driver was operating a vehicle under the influence. Typically, officers use three types of field sobriety tests to determine whether an individual was operating a vehicle under the influence. Officers use the horizontal gaze, one leg, and reciting of the alphabet. However, field sobriety tests lack substantial scientific evidence that failing a field sobriety test relates to an individual operating a vehicle under the influence. Therefore, officers must use chemical testing to support the findings of the field sobriety tests. Yet, refusal of chemical testing does not eliminate a operating a vehicle under the influence. Specifically, an individual receive enhanced penalties for refusal. Also, an officer using test results from field sobriety test will support an operating a vehicle under the influence offense but will usually be challenged on the basis of lacking scientific support or results.

The State of Maine uses field sobriety tests to preliminary determine whether an individual was operating a vehicle under the influence. Basically, a field sobriety test allows officers to know whether the use of chemical testing is necessary to conclude an individual was operating a vehicle under the influence. After, an individual fails a field sobriety test an officer performs a chemical test if the individual agrees to the test. The evidence obtained from the field sobriety test will be admissible in evidence if the officer followed proper procedure and guidelines.

Field sobriety tests test an individual’s cognitive skills to determine whether an individual is impaired while driving. Specifically, officers test an individual’s eye movement through the use of the horizontal gaze. The one leg test allows officer’s to gauge an individual’s balance. Finally, an individual’s ability to recite the alphabet backwards tests an individual’s cognitive skills and speech. However, science has not conclusively recognized the significance of a field sobriety test. Therefore, individuals challenge field sobriety test on the lack of scientific evidence or reliability. Individuals challenge a field sobriety test on the results if an officer failed to use any chemical testing. Also, refusing chemical testing may allow an individual to challenge a field sobriety test but individuals will receive penalties merely for refusing chemical testing.

The State of Maine allows officers or other law enforcement officials to use field sobriety test to determine an individual’s sobriety. However, officer using improper procedures or relying solely on field sobriety tests may eliminate the results of field sobriety tests. Yet, officers are instructed to use chemical testing to conclude an individual was operating a vehicle under the influence. Thus, the results obtained from field sobriety tests will be admissible in a court of law. Finally, individuals will challenge field sobriety test on the lack of scientific significance related to the test.


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