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Understanding The Tests Used To Determine If You Were Driving Under The Influence
As far as the author knows, Mr. Holcomb was the first civilian in Hawaii to obtain certification as a NHTSA field sobriety testing instructor. You need an expert in this area because field sobriety tests are often the most important evidence in the case.
Field Sobriety Tests are one of the most commonly known (and misunderstood) indicators of sobriety. Historically, the limits of which field sobriety “tests” would be administered and of what those “tests” consist were defined solely by the police officer’s imagination. Due to the obvious lack of uniformity and questionable results of such “tests” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (the NHTSA) standardized Field Sobriety Tests in an effort to ensure reliable results.
Only three tests were standardized by the NHTSA. The NHTSA concluded that the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Walk-and-Turn, and One-Leg Stand would serve as reliable indicators of intoxication. The NHTSA then tested the effectiveness of these tests to determine whether: the tests were reliable indicators of intoxication, the tests could be used to estimate a suspect’s blood alcohol content (BAC), and “failing” the tests could identify suspects whose blood alcohol content (BAC) is above the legal limit.
The NHTSA also studied the feasibility of employing these tests in the field and regulates the procedures, instructions, and scoring of the tests in an attempt to ensure reliability.
Because of the standardization of these three tests and because law enforcement receives training from the NHTSA, the three tests are almost always administered at every DUI or OVUII traffic stop. Because they are nationally-standardized and the procedures, instructions, clues and scoring must be performed and interpreted accurately and correctly in order to ensure reliability, those tests may prove to be a very important aspect of defending your case.
Additionally, law enforcement officers occasionally continue to use non-standardized field sobriety tests. Those tests include the finger to nose test, the finger count test, the hand pat test, the alphabet test, the reverse counting test, and the coin pickup test. Many of those tests have been approved by law enforcement organizations such as the National Park Service and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (I.A.C.P.). Obviously, the procedures, instructions, clues and scoring are also vitally important in the administration of those tests.
Because these tests are supposed to be standardized according to the federal government, the instructions you received and other details of the test are crucial. If the police do not instruct you properly, do not have appropriate certification or training, grade the tests improperly or you are not qualified to take the tests, the affect of the results should at least diminish in the mind of the judge. You should write down what you remember happening immediately after your arrest.
Know Your Rights By Calling A Skilled DUI Attorney First
Mr. Holcomb is well-prepared to litigate whether your Field Sobriety Tests were administered and the results interpreted properly. As in all drunk driving related cases, the best results are obtained when you contact a skilled Honolulu DUI lawyer like Rick Holcomb.
Rick Holcomb's knowledge on DUI helped me to maintain my confidence in him throughout my case. Rick committed to me like I was his only client and made his best efforts to make my case go as smoothly as possible. Rick never made me any promises on the outcome of my case and was very honest and upfront with me on all parameters...
- Steve D.
Court is a stressful, frightening experience. Richard carefully explained everything and had great professional rapport with the court which helped ease my tension with the process. Recommend highly!!
- Lisa B.
A+++Lawyer!!! Mr. Richard Holcomb and his agency helped me to get out from under the clutches of two creditors who threatened to sue me for funds I may not have even owed them. Mr. Holcomb kept me informed the whole way and got me two great settlements, even if it meant his firm got less.
- Brad B.
What is Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant?
This is Hawaii’s DUI law. You can be convicted of OVUII if you operate or have physical control of a vehicle and any of the following is true:
- You have an alcohol concentration of 0.08 on either a breath or blood test; or
- Your mental faculties are impaired by any amount of alcohol; or
- Your ability to operate a vehicle carefully is impaired by any amount of drugs.
As you can see, you don’t have to blow a certain number to be convicted of drunk driving in Hawaii. It will be enough if any amount of drugs or alcohol impairs your ability to drive safely.
Can I refuse to take a breathalyzer?
Yes. However, Hawaii (like virtually every other state) has an implied consent law. Essentially, this means you consent to take a breathalyzer when you accept a driver’s license. If you refuse to take the test, your license gets suspended for at least a year. That’s even if you aren’t convicted of DUI/OVUII.
Will I go to jail for a first-time DUI offense?
It’s possible, though not certain. If this is your first DUI offense, or the first in a five-year period, a judge can sentence you to 72 hours of community service, a fine between $150-1,000, or between 2 and 5 days in jail. Judges have discretion, so you might only receive the fine or community service or both and avoid any time in jail.
Will I lose my license for a DUI/OVUII conviction?
Yes. Your license will be revoked for one year if you are convicted of OVUII. However, you might qualify for a restricted license with the installation of an ignition interlock device.