Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

If you are stopped by police for suspicion of DUI, the officer will likely ask you to perform a field sobriety test to help determine your level of impairment. Failing a field sobriety test can give the officer grounds to arrest you for drunk driving, and this evidence is often a crucial part of DUI cases in Washington. There are three main types of standardized field sobriety tests: One Leg Stand, Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, and Walk and Turn.

The One Leg Stand test is as straightforward as it sounds. You will be asked to stand on one leg for about thirty seconds while counting aloud by thousands. During the test, the officer will observe your balance. If you sway while trying to balance, put your foot down, or fall over, you will fail the test.

In the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test, the officer will have you follow his finger or a small object like a pen with your eyes while keeping your head still. The officer will observe you during the test to see if your eyes jerk or bounce, which are signs of intoxication.

For the Walk and Turn test, you will be asked to take nine heel to toe steps along a straight line, turn on one foot, and then walk back in the same way. The officer will pay attention to whether you follow all directions, step off the line, need to use your arms to balance, take the incorrect number of steps, or fail to turn as instructed.

Failed Field Sobriety Tests Do Not Guarantee Conviction

Don't wait to call Dichter Law Office, PLLC if you have been charged with drunk driving in Snohomish or King County. As an experienced Lynnwood DUI defense lawyer, I have the skill needed to aggressively challenge the prosecution's evidence against you.

If field sobriety tests are not administered in the standardized way, the validity of the evidence is compromised. I have been trained and qualified to administer standardized field sobriety tests through the same courses law enforcement officers go through. I can use this training to evaluate whether the officer administered the tests correctly and challenge the results of your field sobriety tests.

To help defend clients and further strengthen their cases, I use a private investigator that is trained in standardized field sobriety testing and is also an instructor. I offer this additional service to my clients at no extra charge, which is a unique benefit of choosing my firm.

There are also numerous outside factors that can cause a person to fail a standardized field sobriety test. Possible defenses against field sobriety test evidence include:

  • Test was administered on unstable ground;
  • A medical condition hindered your ability to perform the test;
  • You were wearing unstable footwear;
  • The officer's instructions were unclear; or
  • You were distracted by the noise and lights of traffic.

If you were charged with intoxicated driving after failing a standardized field sobriety test, you may think that you have no legal options. However, a seasoned attorney can dispute this evidence and fight to have your charges reduced or dropped. I am rated 10.0 Superb by Avvo for my effective and dedicated DUI defense services, and I can fight your drunk driving charges. Call my offices today to schedule a free initial case evaluation!