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Field Sobriety Tests – A Lose/Lose Proposition

Posted on March 18, 2014 in Field Sobriety Tests

Ever try to walk a straight line or stand on one leg after a few drinks? It is always entertaining at a party amongst friends, but could be very harmful to your case if a police officer ever asks you to perform them in a DUI investigation. The common misconception with field sobriety tests (FST’s) is that if one does well on the tests, then they will befree to drive home, free of consequence. That is seldom the case, as the officer typically already has signs and symptoms of impairment if he is asking you to get out of your car and perform the tests.

There are three standardized tests that are commonly used: (1) Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), (2) Walk and Turn, (3) and the One-Leg Stand. HGN involves the observation of your pupil as it follows a moving object, like a finger or light, while noting the smooth or lack thereof, movement of the pupil. The second test, the walk and turn, is a dividedattention test. That is to say, that it requires you to divide your attention between the mental task of listening to the officers instructions, and the physical task of walking and turning in a straight line. Finally the last standardized test, the one-leg stand, is similar to the walk and turn test, as it is a divided attention test. During this test, youhave to mentally follow instructions of the officer, while standing on one foot for thirty seconds.

While administering these FST’s, officers are trained to look for “clues” or “cues” of impairment as you are performing each test. These tests are difficult to perform if you are completely sober in an optimal environment, let alone at 2 am on the side of the road after a few drinks. There is no passing grade on FST’s evenif you perform exceptionally well, you may only be providing more ammunition for arrest and subsequent prosecution. Politely decline the HGN and any physical tests that you may be asked to perform and ask to speak with your attorney as soon as possible.

If you or anyone you know has been arrested based on a failed field sobriety test, please give the Rosenstein Law Group a call at (480) 248-7666. All of our skilled attorneys are here to protect their client’s rights, and assure them that they have a fair and justtrial with the best possible outcome.

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