Field Sobriety Tests – Scottsdale

The police officer has to justify his DUI arrest, which means he needs evidence to support the decision to pull you over on suspicion of drunk driving. Field sobriety tests are little more than a way to get citizens to incriminate themselves, and to provide a basis for arrest and test of blood alcohol content (BAC).

The Rosenstein Law Group has had significant success in getting evidence from field sobriety tests excluded, and in challenging the resulting BAC evidence. Find out how our Scottsdale, Arizona, DUI lawyers can help you statewide to win your case or reduce the penalties.

Call immediately, day or night. Free consultation at (480) 248-7666.

Don’t Help the State Make Its Case

When the officer says “Please step out of the car,” you have the right to (politely) refuse to perform field sobriety tests. Declining the FST cannot be held against you in court. It is not the same as refusal to submit to blood alcohol testing (which results in automatic license suspension).

There is little to be gained from submitting to an FST. The officer is unlikely to let you go if you “pass,” or to note in his report when a sobriety test reinforces your innocence. But he will happily record any stumble, sway, or mumble or other “failure” that supports his case. The common roadside sobriety tests include:

  • The pen test, or horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) — tracking eye movement while the officer waves his pen before your face
  • Balancing tests — standing on one leg for a lengthy period, the Walk and Turn, or touching your finger to your nose with your eyes closed
  • Number/letter recitation — e.g., say the alphabet, count backward from 1,000
  • Dexterity tests — making you close 1 finger at a time

If you already submitted to an FST and “failed,” don’t despair. Attorney Craig Rosenstein has frequently convinced courts to exclude evidence from field sobriety tests, especially if the officer relied on any one test. There are any number of other explanations that have nothing to do with intoxication: physical impairments, medications, weather conditions or nervousness, just to name a few.

Implied Consent: Blood or Breath Samples

Regardless of whether the officer had reasonable suspicion, your Arizona driver’s license is essentially a contract that says you will provide a sample of your blood or breath to determine if you are legally drunk. Failure to comply results in suspension of your license (even if you win your DUI case) and a magistrate will likely grant a warrant to remove your blood by force if necessary.

However, a BAC reading of .08 or greater is not the end of the story. We review all procedures to determine if there is a basis to challenge the test results. First of all, did the officer have grounds to even pull you over? If not, the BAC results may be excluded. Did the state lab test only one sample? (We may run an independent test with a different lab.) We also use a team of experts who can find any flaws in the breathalyzer calibration or administration of the test that would produce an artificially high reading.

In short, there are many legitimate defenses to field sobriety tests and blood or breath tests, and we explore them all. The Rosenstein Law Group represent clients in Scottsdale, Mesa, Glendale, Tempe, Phoenix, and surrounding areas of Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties of Arizona.

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