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What to know about DUI Field Sobriety Tests

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As an experienced King County DUI lawyer, I know how important it is to closely review the results of your field sobriety tests. Police officers use field tests to establish intoxication. Accordingly, the accuracy and trustworthiness of the test results will have a direct effect the outcome of your case.

Law enforcement officers use a number of standardized field sobriety tests to determine intoxication. Coordination tests, for example, consider the subject’s ability to perform certain acts. The subject may need to complete a walk-and-turn test or a one-leg stand test. If the subject cannot adequately complete the test, an officer may use the test results as evidence of intoxication for a DUI arrest. A knowledgeable DUI lawyer may be able to discredit field test results based on the conditions under which the test was administered. For example, were you asked to perform the coordination test while standing in a well-lit police station or while balancing on an incline in an unlit roadside area?

Some field tests may require a follow-up test or a professional evaluation in order to discredit the results recorded by the arresting officer. Specifically, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, during which the officer looks at the movements of the subject’s eye muscles, may require an evaluation of eye movements under normal conditions. If a follow-up test reveals a naturally-occurring nystagmus without intoxication,  I may be able to discredit the results from your field test.

In some cases, videotape evidence reveals flawed or improper testing techniques used by the arresting officer. If a video discredits the results of the standardized field tests from your arrest, this is likely to improve your chances at trial or enhance your position during plea negotiations.

Casting doubt on the reliability of your field sobriety test results can be a very effective defense strategy. If you would to have your test results reviewed by a savvy and experienced King County DUI lawyer, please fill out the contact us form, or call or email me directly.  I practice in Auburn, Burien, Covington, Des Moines, Federal Way, Kent, Tacoma, Normandy Park , Pacific, Puyallup, Redmond, Renton, Sea Tac, Sumner, Tukwila, Seattle, King County Snohomish County and Pierce County.

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