Maryland One-Leg-Stand Test
If you are ever pulled over in the state of Maryland on suspicion of driving while impaired or under the influence of alcohol, the officer will likely try to administer any or all of the three Standardized Field Sobriety Tests that are approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). One of the sobriety tests that is commonly administered by law enforcement officials in a DUI stop is known as the one-leg stand test.
One-Leg Stand Test in Maryland
There are certain requirements that have to be met in the administration of the one-leg stand test in order for the results to be considered accurate. One such stipulation is that the test must be performed on a hard, dry, and level surface. You must listen carefully to the officer’s instructions in order to know exactly what is expected of you in this test. During the one-leg stand test, you will be asked to stand with one foot lifted approximately six inches off the ground and count out loud slowly, usually to 30. You will have to ensure that your arms remain at your sides as you are not allowed to raise them as a means to maintain balance. During these steps, the officer will time you and take note of any clues that you may be intoxicated, which include:
- Placing your foot on the ground
- Raising your arms from the sides of your body in order to maintain balance
If you exhibit at least two of the above clues, the officer may interpret that as a sign that you are under the influence of alcohol and arrest you for DUI.
Challenging the Maryland One-Leg Stand Test Results
Like any other field sobriety test, the one leg test is specifically designed to help law enforcement officers determine whether or not a driver’s ability to safely operate their vehicle is impaired. Unfortunately, this test is extremely subjective and there are many different factors, besides alcohol consumption, that can impact a person’s ability to perform the test properly. The fact is that the one-leg stand test is extremely difficult to preform completely error free even when a person is sober, and the road and weather conditions are perfect. There are many situations in which the test could be performed on busy highways, in the dark, or in the rain, which can all impact a person’s ability to perform the test successfully.
There are many situations where the traffic stop is videotaped and your attorney may attempt to obtain a copy of it through the discovery process. There are many cases where the videos will show that the suspect did not do as poorly on the one-leg-stand test as the officer indicated in the police report. All factors will be examined that could have possibly compromised the person’s ability to perform the test, such as footwear, health, age, and more. Once this is considered, your attorney will present this to the court to try and have the case thrown out or dismissed.
Fighting DUI Charges
Due to the subjective nature of the one-leg stand, it is crucial that you discuss the results with an attorney that understands the DUI laws in the state of Maryland. Due to the fact that Maryland has such stringent guidelines for sentencing, even those facing a first offense could be at risk for jail time, significant fines, as well as suspension of their driver’s license. With so many things at stake for a defendant in a DUI case, it is crucial that you seek legal representation if you have been charged with driving under the influence. The fact is that the right defense strategy can mean the difference in receiving a guilty or receiving a not guilty verdict when it comes to a DUI charge.