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How to Challenge Field Sobriety Tests

When the police pull you over and they have reason to believe that you have been driving while intoxicated, they may attempt to conduct a serious of tests to determine if you have been drinking before you got behind the wheel. One way of testing is through field sobriety tests.

The following are the three types of field sobriety tests:

  • One-Leg Stand – A person needs to stand with one foot approximately six inches above the ground while counting to 30 seconds. The police are looking for any signs of intoxication, such as swaying, hopping, or using arms to maintain balance.
  • Walk-and-Turn – A person must take nine steps – heal-to-toe – in a straight line, then turn on one foot and return in the same sequence. Officers are keeping an eye out for any difficulty balancing, stepping off the straight line, or using arms to balance.
  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus – A police officer moves a pen or flashlight back and forth in front of a person's eyes, while looking for any indications that the individual being tested is having difficulty following the object.

Even if you believe you passed the test, the true nature of field sobriety tests is to gather evidence that determines you have been drinking and driving; however, these tests are often subjective.

For example, a person who has a leg or back injury cannot successfully pass the Walk-And-Turn and One-Leg Stand tests due to their physical condition. A person's age and mental condition can have an impact when participating in the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test.

If the sobriety tests that were administered by police officers prove to be inadequate or performed incorrectly, the results may be dismissed and your charges may be dropped. While you do have the right to refuse any of the field sobriety tests, a refusal can be used as evidence in trial. In either case, it is imperative to obtain the legal representation of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI in Ventura, CA, schedule a free consultation with Wilfert Law P.C. today.