Flaws in Roadside Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests (FST) are based on the subjective opinion of a police officer. While officers are trained to do these tests, a court cannot always rely on the opinion of one person. If you were charged with drunk driving based on a roadside sobriety test, you may be able to fight the reliability of your test.
I am attorney Ernest Bauer. I am a full-service DUI defense lawyer, ready to aggressively defend you against your drunk driving charges.
What are the field sobriety tests?
There are three standard field sobriety tests that officers perform on DUI/DWI stops:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN): This is the pen/eye gaze test. The officer moves an object in front of your eyes, asking you to follow it. Officers use this test to see if your eyes move fluidly or are jerky.
- Walk and turn: In this test, the officer asks you to take steps in a straight line, heel-to-toe. Officers use this test to see if you can follow directions and maintain your balance.
- Stand on one leg: This is another balance/following-directions test. The officer asks you to stand on one leg and count.
Some officers also ask suspected drunk drivers to raise their finger to their nose, count backwards, and count the number of fingers the officer has raised.
There are problems with field sobriety tests.
There are many emotional, medical and physical issues that can affect a field sobriety test. They include:
- Physical illness or other condition affecting balance, memory or limb function
- Obesity and age
- Poor eyesight
- Sedative use, prescription drug use
- Stroke or other condition that affects eye and limb movement
Even something small like poor shoes or a common cold can affect your performance in a field sobriety test.
I will examine your field sobriety test during my defense of your DUI/DWI to determine if the officer properly administered the field sobriety test and whether or not other factors affected your performance.
Did you refuse a field sobriety test?
Police officers cannot force you to take a field sobriety test during a DUI arrest. They are voluntary. If you are facing license suspension because you refused to take a field sobriety test or for any other reason, contact my law office.
I will bring any defense available to you.
I will also explore other defenses to your DUI/DWI charges, including looking at flaws in the DUI Breathalyzer equipment and the police officers' conduct (did they have probable cause to arrest you? Did they read you your Miranda rights?).
Contact my criminal law office as soon as possible after you are charged with drunk driving. I keep my cell phone on 24 hours a day for client emergencies.