Police often rely on a driver’s performance on a field sobriety tests to prove that he or she was driving under the influence. However, field sobriety tests are less than perfect, and sometimes completely sober drivers fail these tests. Here, we discuss three ways this can happen:
1. The Test is Administered Improperly
Colorado has specific protocols that an officer must follow when administering a field sobriety test, such as the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Walk-and-Turn and One-Leg Stand tests. If the officer fails to follow the correct procedure when administering these tests, the reliability of the test may be called into question. For example, if you are asked to walk in a straight line on a steep hill, you may fail because it is difficult to walk in a straight line up a steep incline – whether you are intoxicated or not.
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2. Your Age and Physical Condition
Your age and physical condition can have a big effect on how you perform in a particular field sobriety test. If you have bad knees or a bad back, completing the walk-and-turn or one-leg stand test successfully may be difficult. Furthermore, if you are an older individual, you may have significantly more trouble with the horizontal gaze test than a younger individual even when you had nothing to drink at all.
3. Nerves and Fatigue
Being stopped by the police is unnerving; when you are asked to step out of your vehicle to perform a series of test, your nervousness is likely to show. Even a completely sober individual would have a hard time walking in a straight line and reciting the ABCs if they have to do so with a flashlight shining in their eyes.
Why You Need A DUI Attorney
The police will use a failed sobriety test against you in court. However, the test results are not fool-proof, as you can see. In many cases, an experienced DUI attorney can review the details of your arrest to look for evidence in the administration of the field sobriety test that might lead to the dismissal of the charges against you.
The officer may not have administered the test to you in accordance with standard procedures. If your attorney can prove that the officer did not follow protocol in administering the test to you, the results may be deemed inadmissible and your case may be dismissed. In any event, only an experienced DUI attorney will have the expertise to spot these violations and use them to your advantage.
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The Law Office of Christian A. Schwaner, P.C.
Before you decide how you will deal with a DUI arrest, you should consult with an experienced DUI attorney who can evaluate your case and help you decide which course of action to take. If you have been charged with DUI or DWAI, call the law office of Christian A. Schwaner, P.C. at (719) 440-6720 to discuss your rights, or contact us here for a free initial consultation.