If you are stopped for DUI, the police may ask you to undergo a field sobriety test to determine whether you have been driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The results of the test could weigh heavily against you. With the help of an experienced DUI attorney, however, it is possible to challenge the results of a field sobriety test.
How are Field Sobriety Tests Conducted?
In Metro Atlanta, the police typically conduct three “standardized” field sobriety tests — one leg stand, walk and turn, and horizontal gaze nystagmus.
In the one leg stand test, you will be asked to raise one leg and remain in that position for 30 seconds. If you cannot maintain your balance, the arresting officer may determine that your are impaired and make an arrest. In the walk and turn test, the police will ask you to walk heel to toe along a straight line, turn and walk back. This test is also designed to assess your ability to balance. Finally, in the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test, the police will observe how your eyes to react to external stimuli, such as following a pen or a flashlight.
While you have the right to refuse to participate in a field sobriety test, the police can still make an arrest based on other observations (e.g the odor of alcohol or an open container in plain sight). Nonetheless, it is in you best interests to decline to perform a field sobriety test.
Can the results of a field sobriety test be changed?
Being charged with DUI based on the results of a field sobriety test does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted. Because these tests are often administered under circumstances that increase the likelihood you will fail, and because field sobriety tests are based on the subjective observations of police, an experienced DUI attorney can move to challenge the test results.
By questioning the training and experience of the arresting officer, for example, it may be possible to show that test was not properly administered. Moreover, if you have a physical condition that affects your mobility, equilibrium and balance (e.g a disability, an ear infection or vision problems), the results of the test may have been skewed. Finally, the results of a field sobriety test can be challenged if the police fail to provide proper instructions or the test was conducted on an uneven or poorly lit road.
Given that a DUI conviction may lead to fines, a suspended license, as well as the potential of jail time, it is in your best interests to refuse to undergo a field sobriety test. In the event you have been arrested based on the results of a field sobriety test, contact the experienced DUI attorneys at Carter Pilgrim today.