What’s Important To Know About Field Sobriety Tests in New Jersey?
Ordinarily in the state of New Jersey when you’re faced with a DWI or a DWI, there is a time when you are asked to take standard field sobriety tests. There are essentially three standard tests that are authorized through the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration. These include the Walk and Turn Test, which is a 9 step test in two directions; the one-leg stand test, which is a balance test; and what is called the HGN (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus) test. In the State of New Jersey, those tests are ordinarily performed in the street at the location where you’re stopped. While you are permitted to refuse to take those, it is very rare that I’ve seen someone who has refused.
It is important to try to understand that as your lawyer, I will interview you to try to figure out exactly what your interpretation was and how well you did on those tests. It is also important to know how well the officer explained those tests and whether or not the officer demonstrated those tests, because those can go to your defense in how it was performed. For instance, those tests are reliable only up to a certain point and like any test, if it has bad questions, it is a bad test. The reliability of those tests can be diminished by the officer not giving you the proper instructions and/or demonstration.