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The pop quiz you definitely don't want to fail

Whether you're currently enrolled in a college or university in Colorado or have already lived through your college experience, you've likely encountered situations where an instructor showed up for class, then issued a surprise quiz of some sort. If you happen to be a person with consistent study habits, this type of situation may not be stressful for you at all; in fact, there are people who thrive on such challenges.

If merely thinking about the possibility of such circumstances makes your blood pressure rise, you're definitely not alone in the struggle. Any unforeseen event can cause stress. For instance, if a police officer pulls you over, you may feel immediate anxiety. If the officer asks you to step out of your car and take an impromptu sobriety test, your stress level may hit the roof. Knowing what to expect ahead of time, and where to turn for support, can help you stay calm if a problem arises.

Failing these tests can have lasting, negative consequences

Have you ever heard of horizontal gaze nystagmus? Perhaps if you majored in a science-related field in college, you understand the term. It's not uncommon for people to be completely unfamiliar with the phrase, however. The following list explains what it is, along with two other basic tools police officers often use to determine if motorists might be intoxicated:

  • When you look from side to side using only your eyes, not your head, your eyeballs typically move involuntarily in certain ways when your gaze reaches a maximum peripheral point. Known as horizontal gaze nystagmus, police officers often use this as a gauge to check for possible evidence of drunk driving. If you are intoxicated, your eyeballs may jerk involuntarily a lot sooner than they would when sober.
  • Walking in a straight line while touching the heel of one of your feet to the top of the toes on the other may not sound especially difficult to you. If you have alcohol in your bloodstream, however, the walk-and-turn field sobriety test may prove quite challenging. You may be surprised, in fact, at how little an amount of alcohol it takes to throw your gait off balance. This if often the first field sobriety test an officer will request if he or she suspects you of DUI.
  • Balance is also the focus of the one-leg stand test. If a police officer asks you to stand on one leg, you may have to perform this task simultaneously while counting aloud by thousands for approximately 30 seconds, which can feel like an eternity in a stressful situation.

There are certain vision conditions or other health-related factors that can impede your ability to perform well on such tests, even if you are completely sober. Perhaps you've had a past sports injury or some other underlying issue that affects your balance or gait. In many DUI situations, it is a police officer's word against yours. If the officer fails to ask if there's any reason you can't perform the tests, you may wind up facing serious legal problems.

This is why most Colorado motorists request immediate legal assistance the moment a police officer detains them outside their vehicles. You can invoke your right to remain silent and refuse submission to sobriety tests until you secure legal assistance.

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