Know how to fight these field sobriety test results

On Behalf of | Mar 10, 2020 | DWI

Have you ever looked an your rearview mirror, seen a police officer behind, and felt your heart skip a beat? If so, you’re not alone. This is a common reaction even for those who haven’t done anything wrong. Your anxiety level probably skyrockets when an officer turns on his lights to initiate a traffic stop.

While you’re nervous, an officer may request that you participate in one or more field sobriety tests to determine if you are intoxicated. The results of these tests could lead to a DWI charge. If convicted on one of these charges, you could end up facing serious penalties, including jail time.

The good news is that you might be able to challenge the validity of field sobriety test results, which could cripple the prosecution’s case. Let’s take a look at each type of field sobriety test and how you can challenge it.

Horizontal gaze nystagmus

In this test, an officer holds an object mere inches from your face and requests that you follow it with your eyes without turning your head. Here, the office may look for a lack of smooth pursuit, jerking eye movements, or an inability to follow directions as signs of intoxication. Here, you might be able to challenge poor instructions and improper administration of the test.


With this field sobriety test, you are required to take a certain number of steps in heel-to-toe fashion in a straight line with our arms outstretched to your side. You will also have to stand heel-to-toe with arms outstretched while instructions are given. Police officers will look for an inability to follow instructions, as well as a failure to maintain balance, count steps, and walk in a straight line. With this test, though, you again might be able to draw into question the sufficiency of the officer’s instructions. Additionally, an officer might misinterpret a medical condition that contributes to poor balance or an inability to walk straight.

One-leg stand

This field sobriety test requires you to stand with one foot six inches off the ground and count while looking at your raised foot. An officer will look for swaying, hopping, and other signs of lack of balance. Certain individuals, including older drivers, those who are heavyweight, and those who have problems with their back or legs, should not be asked to take this test due to its inaccuracy rate in these motorists.

The truth of the matter is that these field sobriety tests are highly inaccurate. Yet, they are often used to support a criminal prosecution. If you know how to attack these tests, though, you might be able to secure a favorable outcome and avoid harsh penalties. Fortunately, skilled legal professionals stand ready to assist in fighting for these results.

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