When you are pulled over and the officer suspects you have been drinking, they will often request that you perform a series of tests to determine whether they can claim to have enough evidence to arrest you. These tests are designed to evaluate your coordination, speech patterns, and concentration and must be administered a specific way to be admissible in court.
A well-versed DUI attorney understands the weight that Leesburg field sobriety tests can carry in a court of law and could help you build a case to cast doubt on the evidence against you.
Field sobriety tests are designed to help law enforcement determine whether someone’s ability to drive is impaired enough by drugs or alcohol to prevent them from operating a motor vehicle safely. These are split-attention tests involving a physical and mental task. The idea behind them is that performing certain tasks is more difficult for an intoxicated person.
In a practical sense, field sobriety tests in Leesburg are administered, explained, and interpreted in such a way that makes it very challenging to get a result that is satisfactory to an officer to the degree that they will not decide to arrest the individual.
Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) is a field sobriety test designed under the theory that if a person is intoxicated or impaired by drugs or alcohol, then they will involuntary jerk their eyes and be unable to follow stimulus. HGN tests are controversial in DUI cases because they are best left to an ophthalmologist or an optometrist.
However, officers are trained to administer these tests and, in some cases, to interpret the results. Because they do not have the professional credentials of eye doctors, they often cannot be relied upon. A good Leesburg lawyer could use the officer’s lack of expertise to affect the level to which the judge relies on this type of field sobriety test.
The walk-and-turn test, or the nine-step-walk-and-turn, is a physical and mental task in which the individual is given a series of instructions to follow. The key points for the walk-and-turn test are that the person is instructed how to stand, and the officer demonstrates how to take heel-to-toe steps in a specific manner on a real or imaginary line, while keeping their hands at their sides, counting out loud, and looking forward.
They then instruct the driver on how to turn and to repeat the steps coming back. The idea behind this test is that it is difficult to remember all the individual directions for the test if someone is impaired. A motivated attorney in Leesburg could demonstrate to the jury that even someone who is sober would struggle to remember and follow all the instructions in this field sobriety assessment.
The one-leg-stand test is another physical and mental test in which someone is given a series of instructions which a person under the influence of drugs or alcohol would struggle with and asked to follow them. The one-leg-stand test tests an individual’s balance, asking them to stand on one foot, holding it six inches off the ground while looking at their toe, counting to 30, and keeping their arms at their sides.
For the one-leg stand test, it is much easier for someone to freeload their weight onto their planted foot while slightly bending their knee than locking their leg and trying to hold it there. When an officer in Leesburg demonstrates this field sobriety test, they know how to perform it correctly. However, an individual who is then attempting it for the first time does not have the same fair chance.
Field sobriety tests are used to assess someone’s level of drunkenness while on the road. However, too many police officers do not provide proper instructions, causing drivers to fail and be falsely arrested for DUI. Unfortunately, even with that knowledge, juries still give them a great deal of weight in many cases.
A dedicated lawyer understands the tricks these cops use in Leesburg field sobriety tests. Call us today to learn how we can help you fight your case.
Patrick Woolley Attorney At Law