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FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS

Field Sobriety Tests are usually administered by law enforcement when an officer believes you have driven a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. An officer will likely ask you to perform the three following tests:

  • The Walk and Turn Test
  • The One Leg Stand Test
  • The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test

Although the police and the prosecutor will argue that these tests are valid indicators of someone’s impairment, they are in fact very unfair and are designed to be used against you. It is rare for someone to perform these tests and be let go. It is my experience that a police officer has already made the decision to arrest you at the point that he ASKS you to perform these tests and your performance will only be used to establish evidence against you.

You are not required to perform field sobriety tests. Under no circumstance should you ever voluntarily perform field sobriety tests. If an officer asks you to perform field sobriety tests, refuse. If he asks you a second time, then invoke your right to a lawyer and to remain silent. It is likely that an officer will attempt to coerce you into performing these tests. Hold strong, refuse, and call a lawyer ASAP.

If you did perform field sobriety tests and you were arrested then it is imperative that you have a skilled lawyer review your entire case, including your performance on Field Sobriety Tests. I have tried dozens of DUII cases and I have undergone specialized training in combatting these tests. At trial, attacking Field Sobriety Tests is always an important and powerful part of a trial

There are many factors that can contribute to failing a field sobriety test other than intoxication. It is important to point these out at trial. Some of the situations that could affect the tests include:

  • Nervousness
  • Fear
  • Age
  • Language problems
  • Physical illness
  • Weight
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to understand the directions
  • Bad balance
  • Confusion