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How to Fight the Results of a Field Sobriety Test in California

Field sobriety tests are often thought of as subjective exercises that many people can easily fail. While they are meant to evaluate a person's ability to operate a vehicle and their attentiveness, many people are arrested for a DUI without actually driving under the influence. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, has approved three standard field sobriety tests, including:

  1. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test (HGN)
  2. The Walk and Turn test
  3. The One-Leg Stand test

One major argument against the results of a field sobriety test has to do with the conditions in which the arresting officer chose to execute them. These tests have to be performed under appropriate and safe conditions in order to be accurate. There are surface, audial and light conditions that can affect the way you perform the tests. The testing conditions include:

  • Dry, hard and non-slippery surface
  • Sufficient room to perform the test
  • Adequate lighting so the suspect is able to see the officer and the ground
  • The instructions need to be provided at a proper noise level
  • Disruption noises or sirens can lead to inadequate audial settings

Aside from the conditions being inappropriate, there are further ways to fight against field sobriety test results. If you have any other physical or mental impairments that would lead to the behavior and results presented, that could help your case. Also, the performance and instruction of the officer needs to be appropriate or you can argue against inadequate procedures. Field sobriety tests need to be standardized and the instructions need to be precise, officer error often deems the results invalid. There are arguments that can be made if you are not wearing the appropriate attire to complete the tests or if there are non-alcoholic related causes for your performance. For help in your DUI case, team up with a Dublin criminal defense attorney from the Law Office of Ivan O.B. Morse. Call our firm today for a free case evaluation!

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