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Field Sobriety Tests

Field Sobriety Tests in Fort Lauderdale, FL

About Standardized Sobriety Testing

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has been working and developing field sobriety tests over the years to help standardize them and make them more accurate. There are three standardized test recognized today by all 50 states that have been implemented to help officers to find probable cause to arrest someone for DUI. Many habitual alcoholics or people with high tolerance thresholds claim that even after a number of drinks, they are still able to function completely normal even with a high level of alcohol in their system. These tests were developed to disprove that theory by having people perform physical and cognitive tests that challenge their balance and coordination. Law enforcement officials are trained to observe and evaluate as the driver performs these tests and they know exactly what to look for.

Field Sobriety tests are in fact 100% voluntary and you are by no means legally obligated to perform them. Many people choose to politely decline because there is ample controversy surrounding these tests and whether or not they are inherently designed for people to fail. Perfect balance is hard to attain even when you are perfectly sober, let alone when you have had one or two drinks. If you do not get a perfect score on the One-Legged Stand test and you score a 9 out of 10, if still may be considered a fail and you could be taken into custody. The truth is that when officials pull you over, they will search tirelessly for any proof to validate an arrest. They do not like going through all this trouble just to allow you to get back into your car, free to drive away. At Parks & Braxton, PA, we want to keep people informed and help them understand their rights. By learning about the three standardized sobriety tests, you can better grasp what officials look for and whether or not they are reliable determinants of sobriety.

The Walk and Turn Test

This field sobriety test requires the driver to walk a straight line in a heal-to-toe fashion. The officer will ask you to stand heal-toe and wait while he explains the instructions of the test to you. During that time they will observe your reactions and whether or not you are having difficulty listening. They will then instruct you to take nine consecutive steps in a straight line walking heal-to-toe and then turn and come back nine steps in the other direction. While you are performing the test, the officers will be looking to see if you are unable to balance, started the test too soon, used your arm to balance, stepped off the straight line or stopped at any time while walking. If you slip up in two or three of these areas then they can determine that you fail the test and take you into custody. A good DUI attorney could be able to challenge the results of this test and formulate a compelling case on your behalf by proving that the police did not have probable cause to arrest you.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test

This test is much more scientific in nature but like the other tests, there is still room for ample inaccuracy. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test is when they examine the fluidity of the eye movements as they follow and gaze on an object that is moving from side to side. If the eyes are involuntarily and frequently jerking as they follow there is a good chance that you are above the legal limit. The law enforcement official may take a pen and place it in front of your face and tell you to follow it with your eyes, while keeping your head perfectly still. The eyes will typically jerk the most when turning towards the farthest point. They will test both eyes going in both directions and if you fail four out of the six tests then you are considered intoxicated. The attorneys at the firm however, are aware that there are other factors other than alcohol that can cause this involuntary jerky eye movement. Talk to our legal team today and learn how you can challenge the results of your HGN test.

One-Leg Stand Test

While police officials explain the instructions of this test, they will ask you to stand with your feet together and arms at your side, and they will observe how well you listen to the rest of the directions. They will then have you pull one leg up, six inches of the ground, while keeping the foot parallel to the asphalt. You will then be instructed to count upwards from one thousand (ex: one thousand one, one thousand two…) and continue on for at least 30 seconds, until directed to stop. During this time, the officer will be observing and evaluating your movements to see if you are swaying, using your arms to balance, hopping on one foot, or putting your foot down to catch your balance. A qualified Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyer from our firm knows that there is still inherent error in the results of this test because there are other reasons as to why someone cannot keep their balance. For example, if you have a severe neck, back, or inner ear problem then your balance may be inhibited even though you have not had a lot to drink. Contact our Fort Lauderdale office today for a free case evaluation and learn how we can help you dismantle the prosecution's defense in court.

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