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3 Ways To Challenge a Field Sobriety Test

Posted by Aaron J. Wolff | Sep 07, 2013 | 0 Comments

Along with a blood alcohol test, law enforcement may rely upon a field sobriety test to determine if a driver is under the influence. A field sobriety test generally consists of the following three tests:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
  • Walk-and-Turn
  • One-Leg Stand

You should know that a field sobriety test is not infallible. In fact, field sobriety tests are often successfully challenged by experienced Seattle DUI attorneys. Here is a look at three common ways that a DUI defendant may challenge a field sobriety test:

  1. Improperly Conducted Tests. Similar to a blood alcohol test, field sobriety tests must be properly run to be reliable. For example, if the arresting officer conducts the test in a hurry or sloppily, the officer may miss a key step casting doubt on the accuracy of the entire test. Typically, the officer must administer the field sobriety tests according to the procedures set by the NHTSA.
  2. Testing Conditions. Depending upon where and when you are stopped, there may be environmental conditions that explain a failed test. For example, slippery or wet conditions may making walking and turning difficult. Similarly, bad or no lighting may make some of the tests challenging even for a sober person.
  3. Valid Medical Condition. There may be other explanations for a failed field sobriety test besides being drunk. For example, if you are sick or suffering from an illness or disability, your medical condition may make successful completion of the field sobriety test very difficult.

If you have been charged with drunk driving in the Seattle or King County areas and law enforcement are relying on a failed field sobriety test, you should contact an experienced attorney.

A failed field sobriety test does not automatically mean you are guilty of a crime. Instead, you should talk to an attorney at Wolff Criminal Defense to discuss the details of your case and learn of possible defenses. Call us at 425-284-2000 to learn more.

About the Author

Aaron J. Wolff

A former DUI prosecutor, Aaron Wolff has over 18 years of experience in representing people accused of DUI and is recognized as one of the leading defense lawyers in Washington State. His relentless and passionate advocacy has lead to superb ratings and outstanding reviews from former clients.


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