October 10, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Law enforcement officials around the nation utilize a variety of tests to determine whether or not a driver is intoxicated. Massachusetts state law considers a driver to be legally intoxicated when the following blood alcohol levels are noted:
- .02 percent for drivers under the age of 21 operating personal vehicles
- .08 percent for drivers over the age of 21 operating personal vehicles
- .04 percent for drivers of any age operating commercial vehicles
Determination of these alcohol levels is ultimately made by breath and/or blood testing. However, field sobriety tests are administered first and considered the method by which police identify whether or not further testing is warranted.
Each level of testing carries with it its own unique opportunities for error. People arrested for driving under the influence should be aware of these pitfalls as they represent opportunities to successfully fight DUI charges
DUI charges affect a great deal of people with more than 5,000 DUI arrests made in Suffolk County alone in 2009. State data shows a total of 9,887 arrests throughout Massachusetts in 2011 with 66 of those being for drivers under the age of 18.
Field sobriety tests
When a police office has stopped a driver and suspects possible intoxication, he or she is required to conduct some basic tests, known as field sobriety tests, to confirm or deny the suspicion. If the suspicion is confirmed, more "scientific" testing is then ordered.
Field sobriety tests can include a variety of things such as having the person stand on one leg, walk and turn around, counting backwards and identifying a number of fingers held up by the officer. Problems can arise with these tests if an officer conducts them without just cause. Additionally, some people may have medical conditions which affect balance, for example, and they may therefore have challenges with some tests but that does not mean they are drunk. Environmental factors such as uneven roadway surface may also affect the outcome of these tests.
This is the common next test that an officer will have a driver take if the field sobriety tests seem to indicate it is necessary. Essentially, the driver breathes into a device which is intended to measure the quantity of alcohol in his or her body. However, these tests are not fail-proof as certain things can interfere with accurate results. Examples include the presence of blood, vomit or other liquids in the mouth. Even an uneven breathing pattern can affect ultimate results.
While blood tests have the ability to be the most accurate form of measuring alcohol in a person's system, it is not without potential for error. Even the alcohol swab used to cleanse the area before inserting the needle can interfere with readings. Certain medical conditions such as diabetes or the presence of substances such as some supplements or even cough medicines can all result in misleading data.
Proper legal help is important
If you have been arrested for drunk driving and any or all of these tests have been administered, you should contact a DUI attorney
who understands the nuances involved in blood alcohol content testing and DUI prosecution. Ensuring the right legal help can be your option to preventing a conviction.
Article provided by Boston DUI Lawyers
Visit us at bostonduilaw.net/