Understanding Field Sobriety Tests

One of the mains ways that law enforcement officers test drivers to determine whether or not they are under the influence of alcohol is by administering field sobriety tests. A field sobriety test does not test the percentage of alcohol in the blood, as blood tests and breath tests seek to do, rather they test the driver's ability to perform tasks that would be simple for someone who was not under the influence of alcohol. Many people believe that if they failed a field sobriety test, they will have no hope of fighting their charges. This, however, is not the case. With a Boulder DUI lawyer from our team at the Lancaster Law Office, LLC on your side, your chances of getting your charges dropped are significantly increased.

There are three main types of field sobriety tests used by law enforcement. The first of two of these tests are divided attention tests. These divide the individual's attention by asking them to perform two tasks at once. The first is the walk and turn test. This requires the driver to walk in a straight line, heel to toe, while counting out loud. They will have to stay balanced while walking one way and then turn around and come back. If they are unable to stay balanced or lose count, the peace office could take it as a sign that they are inebriated.

The other divided attention test is the one leg stand. This test requires that the individual stands with one foot approximately six inches from the ground. They are also required to keep count, counting to 30 out loud. Some indications that the officer will look for that point to the individual being under the influence of alcohol include having to put one foot down, using their arms to balance, or swaying. This test is about 83% accurate. This means that even if someone fails a one leg stand test, they may not have been under the influence of alcohol, but could have failed for another reason.

The last standardized field sobriety test is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. This is not a divided attention test, but rather looks at the involuntary jerking of the eye. When the eyes move from side to side, there is an involuntary jerking which naturally occurs. When the person is under the influence of alcohol, this jerking is exaggerated. The peace officer may ask the driver to follow a pen or flashlight with their eyes in order to look for this occurrence. Even though this test is fairly accurate, there are other reasons why they may fail, such as the use of certain medications or even certain medical conditions.

What should you do if you were arrested for DUI based on the results of your field sobriety test? First of all, you need to realize that just because you failed a test does not mean that you are guilty. Our team at Lancaster Law Office, LLC has years of experience in these types of cases and understands that people are often falsely accused or treated too harshly for their mistakes. If this was your case, please tell a member of our team about your case. We will look into the administration of your test in order to determine whether any errors occurred. We will also look into the results of the test as they may have been read incorrectly. Our office offers a free case evaluation, so please do not hesitate to fill out this form or call us. We could get your charges reduced or even dropped, so call today!