When you are first arrested you may be asked to submit to a series of field sobriety tests. You are not required to submit to these tests, unlike the State-administered blood, breath, or urine test performed at the police station or hospital. Law enforcement officials may still request an official state-administered blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test, even if you have refused the field sobriety tests.
The testing mechanisms used for the field sobriety tests are very flawed and are designed to make you appear under the influence. The accuracy and validity of theses tests are often called into question during the trial process. The evidence gathered during theses test can be severely compromised.
Often, the “scoring” of a field sobriety tests is subjective, frequently misinterpreted, and improperly administered. Consequently, it is not always a good idea to submit to testing. The officer only wants to build his or her case against you and will use the test to support his belief.
Richard S. Lawson has been trained just as the law enforcement officials have been and is certified as a National Highway Transportation Safety Administration field sobriety instructor for over 10 years. This training gives him the knowledge necessary to identify potential flaws or inaccuracies in the testing procedure that may help strengthen your DUI defense. Law enforcement in Henry County depend on these tests to build the prosecutions case and prove probable cause for arrest. If you have agreed to a field sobriety test and were arrested contact our firm today
Lawson and Berry Henry County DUI Defense Attorneys
It is very important that you understand the difference between the field sobriety tests and the state-mandated chemical BAC tests that are administered at a police station or hospital. Your are not required to submit to any test in the field but you must take the chemical blood, breath, or urine test once you have been arrested at the police station. If you refuse these tests you will face an automatic license suspension of 1 year. If you are ever pulled over on the side of the road, a law enforcement office must have probable cause to do so (i.e. erratic or reckless driving was observed). However, if you are at checkpoint police officers do not need probable cause to stop you. In either scenario they may ask you to perform a series of field sobriety tests to get more evidence that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If this has happened to you, act quickly and contact the Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson for advice on your next steps should be to protect your future.
Contact a Henry County DUI Defense Lawyer from Lawson and Berry if you have been arrested for DUI and part of the process included field sobriety testing.
Most Henry County DUI officers have received training in administered standardized field sobriety tests. These are the three evaluations that have been studied and nationally standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That means that these tests have been studied to show that they have some correlation with measuring alcohol intoxication on one's ability to operate a motor vehicle. The standardized tests are the “eye test” or horizontal gaze nystagmus where the officer does a series of tests when he asks the driver to look at a stimulus and the officer tries to determine if there is “nystagmus” (a jerking movement) of the eyeball. Not every driver is a good candidate for this test as some people always have nystagmus and certain head and eye conditions can make the test non-reliable. The second standardized evaluation is the walk and turn test. This test consists of 9 heel to step steps along a line, a turn, and 9 heel to toe steps backward. Starting before you are told to start, or walking normally instead of making heel to toe steps cause a Henry County DUI officer to observe “clues” consistent with intoxication. The final standardized field sobriety test used to determine DUI is the one leg stand. This test requires you to stand on one foot for 30 seconds with your arms at your sides. This is hard for some people to do under the best conditions, much less when you are nervous and being accused of driving under the influence.
Sometimes, Henry Co. DUI officers also ask drivers to partake in other non-standardized tests like saying the alphabet or counting to a certain number in their head. These tests have not been validated to show that they indicate that a driver is under the influence.
Most Henry County DUI officers have a video camera equipped in his or her patrol vehicle that tapes the encounter with the driver. In many instances, these tapes can help the defense if someone does a good job and appears to walk and speak normally on the tape. Our Henry County DUI lawyers are trained in dissecting an officer's methods in conducting the field sobriety tests. In many instances, these tests are not done according to the prescribed methods and the results are not valid. DUI officers can be sloppy in their administration of the tests and then use the results as a basis to arrest someone for DUI. Don't let that happen to you. Call our Henry County DUI law office today for a case evaluation.