If Law Enforcement officers arrested you for DUI, they also likely asked you to undergo field sobriety tests. These tests are designed to measure your sobriety through physical and cognitive performance measures, depending on eye movement, balance, comprehension and other factors. Field sobriety tests in Boca Raton DUI cases are one tool that police officers may use to adjudge whether they have probable cause to arrest you on DUI charges.
The results of field sobriety tests, however, are not always reliable and tend to be subjective. Other factors unrelated to alcohol or drug consumption can affect your ability to perform these tests satisfactorily. With the help of one of our experienced Attorneys at Leifert & Leifert, you may be able to minimize the results of these tests as part of your overall defense to the DUI charges.
Types of Field Sobriety Tests
During a traffic stop, police officers use various investigative tools and techniques to determine whether the drivers are impaired. Aside from visual observations, smells, and analysis of speech patterns, police officers routinely ask drivers to undergo field sobriety tests (FSTs) if they suspect that they are impaired. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has three tests that constitute the Standardized Field Sobriety Test, including the horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk-and-turn, and one-legged stand tests.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
To administer the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, police officers slow move a pen or flashlight back and forth to examine the ability of the drivers to follow visual stimuli with their eyes. Impairment may be present if the eyes of the drivers jerk rapidly in response to the movement of the object.
Drivers must walk forward nine steps, heel to toe, in a straight line. The drivers then must turn around and walk back in the same manner. This test measures physical balance and coordination, as well as the ability to understand and follow instructions.
During the one-legged stand test, police officers instruct drivers to stand on one leg and hold their other foot at least six inches from the ground. The drivers then must hold this position while counting for 30 seconds. These tests also measure the cognitive processing of instructions and the ability to balance.
Understanding the impact of field sobriety tests on DUI cases in the local area can assist in a strong defense to DUI charges. Although the test results may be relevant in some DUI cases, the results may not indicate impairment in other cases.
Minimizing the Impact of Field Sobriety Test Results in a DUI Case
Despite the alleged accuracy of FSTs, which Law Enforcement officers routinely use nationwide, factors other than impairment can easily affect field sobriety test results. For example, some medical conditions and medications can affect field sobriety tests, as can fatigue. Hearing impairments and simple miscommunication also can lead to questionable results.
Police officers also must receive specific training to administer FSTs properly. Officers who are poorly trained or improperly trained may conduct the tests incorrectly, which obviously can affect the test results. These officers also may need periodically updated training to keep up to speed on the proper procedures.
Aside from the standard battery of FSTs, local Law Enforcement agencies also can administer additional field sobriety tests in Boca Raton DUI cases as they deem appropriate. These tests might include having drivers recite the ABCs, count to a specific number, or touch their fingers to their nose.
Learn More About DUI Cases and Field Sobriety Tests in Boca Raton
Field sobriety tests in Boca Raton DUI cases are standard, so you may very well need the assistance of a criminal defense Lawyer at Leifert & Leifert to assist you in refuting any erroneous or unwarranted test results. Learning how these test results can impact the outcome of your DUI can be an integral part of your defense to the charges against you. Together, you can work toward resolving your DUI case in the most favorable manner possible.
Hiring an Attorney in your criminal case may be the most effective means of defending yourself. A strong Legal Advocate can investigate your case, weigh the evidence against you, and help you develop a robust defense to the charges against you.