Field Sobriety Tests
An experienced DWI attorney can challenge the 'test' you received before arrest
Motorists pulled over for DWI, or suspected of driving while intoxicated, are routinely asked by police officers to perform one or more field sobriety exercises. But if you agreed to take any of these tests and did not pass, you should not accept the outcome as proof that you are guilty. In fact, an experienced defense lawyer can challenge the tests. Attorney Joseph LaBella knows how to ask the right questions to help client's win a dismissal of the DWI charges.
Police use the Field Sobriety Test (FST) or the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) as a way to determine if you are impaired by alcohol. The officer – who may not even be qualified to give such a test – will use his or her own judgment after observing you. Keep in mind, however, that many factors can affect your test result. They include:
- Being tired
- Mental disorders
- Physical disabilities
- Weight or height
A closer look at the field sobriety test
The Field Sobriety Test is non-standardized exercise which is administered without set rules. An officer may ask someone to perform the Rhomberg (hold your head back, close your eyes, and estimate 30 seconds). The test also may include a hand clap, finger touch or recitation of the ABC's. Police may choose to ask a driver to perform these non-standardized tests if the person has leg or knee injuries and cannot perform the Standardized Field Sobriety Test.
A closer look at the Standardized Field Sobriety Test
The Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, funded by the federal government, are administered with a specific set of instructions and graded on a specific set of clues. Police grade the individual based on a set of clues and will arrest for DWI if the person exhibits a certain set of clues.
The Standardized Field Sobriety Test includes three tests:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)
- Walk and Turn (WAT)
- One Leg Stand (OLS)
Police also may perform portable breath testing (PBT), which is a handheld device designed to get a quick reading of the person's breath alcohol content. Unlike the Intoxilyzer 5000, the PBT is inadmissible as evidence in court. Police use the PBT as a quick gauge to determine if there is alcohol in a person's system.
Competent DWI attorneys know how to attack the test results. The field sobriety tests can lead to the arrest of an innocent person, which is unacceptable. A top-notch DWI lawyer like Joseph LaBella can cross-examine the arresting officer to determine whether the tests were performed properly and ask key questions that can lead to a dismissal of charges.
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Contact a DWI lawyer serving clients in the greater Houston area
If you were charged with DWI in after failing a field sobriety test, you will need a skilled defense lawyer on your side. Contact Joseph LaBella & Associates today for a free consultation: 1-800-395-5951.