Can I Challenge My Field Sobriety Test?

Seeing a cop car’s lights turn on in your rearview mirror is nerve-racking for anyone. But, getting pulled over due to possible DWI charges is a completely different level of anxiety and stress. As soon as you realize you are the driver the police officer is flagging down, your body begins to react. You’re enveloped in stress. If the officer believes you are drunk, he or she may ask you to take a field sobriety test. Read on to learn more about how to challenge your field sobriety test.

As you nervously run through the possibilities in your head, it is understandable if you struggle to focus. You can’t stop thinking about what will happen next. In a situation like this where there is a definite power imbalance, it is crucial that you understand DWI law and your rights regarding field sobriety tests. Otherwise, you may find yourself participating in unreliable testing that you could have denied without penalty.

This article covers the characteristics of typical field sobriety tests and why they’re problematic. You’ll also learn how you can challenge them with the help of a DWI lawyer.

Challenging your field sobriety test.

Common Field Sobriety Tests

  • The Walk and Turn: This test requires you to walk in a straight line by placing one foot in front of the other so that the back of your foot touches the tip of the toes of your other foot. Once you get to the stopping point designated by the police officer, you must turn around and walk all the way back to your starting point in the same process as before. 
  • The One-Leg Stand: During this test, you stand still with one leg up as you count out loud until the police officer tells you to stop. 
  • The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: Usually, you look at a pen and follow it  with your gaze from side to side as the officer focuses on your eye control. 

What Are Cops Looking For With These Tests?

Police officers use these tests to check things like your balance and comprehension of basic commands. They pay close attention to your coordination and ability to follow specific directions while moving. It should be noted that even a delayed response is considered a response by the police. 

Why Are Field Sobriety Tests Problematic?

These tests are problematic because there are plenty of reasons why the average person might fail them, sober or intoxicated. A completely sober person could fail a field sobriety test. Nerves, physical impairments, distracting nearby traffic, lack of lighting, inclement weather, medical conditions, or illness can all impact your results. Additionally, the tests themselves tend to be subjective, differing from officer to officer. The distance of the tests and/or the duration of the tests varies based on the person conducting them. This leaves room for inconsistencies that can completely change the outcome and your life. 

Why Should I Challenge My Field Sobriety Test?

Contrary to popular belief, you are not required to take a field sobriety test if you are pulled over for possible DWI charges. You can refuse to take the tests, but it does not mean you are completely off the hook. You can still be arrested if an officer deems it necessary. Since getting pulled over can be intimidating, many people will nervously give into a field sobriety test. If this has happened to you, you can still challenge the results of your field sobriety test. Contact a trusted DWI lawyer for help. A qualified professional understands how unreliable these test results can be and will take the time to investigate the problems surrounding your testing. 

How Can I Challenge My Field Sobriety Test?

If you have been pulled over for a possible DWI, contact us today at The Shostak Law Firm to discuss your experience. We are here to help you get past intimidation tactics and make sure you are treated fairly in the court of law. 

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