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Tucson Attorneys Defending Against Field Sobriety Tests

Santa Cruz County Field Sobriety Test Attorney

Lawyers Fighting Field Sobriety Test Results for Pima County Clients

If you were pulled over under the suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), then a police officer may have asked you to step out of the car and perform certain physical tasks. There are only three tasks that have been standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for this situation. These are known as Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs), and police officers use these tests to try and gain evidence that a driver is under the influence of alcohol. However, none of these tests are entirely accurate, and there are innumerable factors that can lead to false positive results.

To learn more about SFSTs and how to best defend against them, contact the experienced and trusted DUI defense lawyers of The Behan Law Group, P.L.L.C. at 520-220-5047.

The Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

The three SFSTs the police may ask you to perform during a traffic stop are:

  • The one-leg stand test: A police officer may ask you to stand with one leg about six inches off the ground while remaining standing on the other and keeping your arms down at your sides. You will then be instructed to count aloud beginning with one thousand until you are told to put your foot down.
  • The walk-and-turn test: An officer may ask you to take nine steps in a straight line with your heel touching your toe every step. After the ninth step, you will be asked to turn around taking a series of small steps and come back the same way.
  • The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test: HGN is an involuntary jerking eye movement that occurs when you look to the side. An officer may ask you to look at an object, such as the tip of a pen, and follow it with your eyes without moving your head. The officer will move that object to the left and right to determine if you can smoothly track the object or if your eye movements are shaky.

Defending Against SFSTs

You may have submitted to SFSTs without knowing exactly how you were going to be graded or whether you were required to do the tests at all. In many situations, officers do not explain that you have the ability to decline to perform the tests. Instead, they simply ask you to do something, like walk in a straight line or look at the tip of a pen, without telling you that this is an exam that will be graded and could work against you in court. While these tests may be used as evidence against you, there are also many ways to defend against them.

It is absolutely essential that any SFST is administered within NHTSA standards. If the officer did not fully follow all of the proper procedures, then the results are not valid, and we will fight to suppress this evidence. If an officer asked you to perform a non-standardized test, then the results are not reliable or valid, and we will fight to have any evidence of this test or the results suppressed.

Even if the tests were administered appropriately, we can fight against the evidence in other ways, including arguing that environmental factors, your clothing, a medical condition, or a disability affected the administration of the test and its results. SFSTs are not as accurate as officers and prosecutors would have you believe. In addition to inherent inaccuracies, improper footwear and rough terrain can make a SFST more unreliable.

Contact Our Santa Cruz County DUI Defense Lawyers Today

If you submitted to any field sobriety test during a traffic stop and now face DUI charges, contact the Tucson DUI defense attorneys at The Behan Law Group, P.L.L.C. at 520-220-5047 right away. We serve clients throughout Pima County, Cochise County, Graham County, Santa Cruz County and Pinal County.

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