What You Need To Know About Field Sobriety Tests

If a police officer pulls you over and believes you may be intoxicated, you may be asked to perform a field sobriety test. Officers routinely use these tests as evidence in DUI cases.

Do not assume that you will be found guilty if you failed a field sobriety test. A skilled drunk driving defense attorney can identify problems with the test and how it was administered. Here is what you need to know about field sobriety tests.

If you failed a field sobriety test and have been charged with DUI or DWI in Rockford, Illinois, schedule a free consultation with an attorney at The Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler, Inc. You can reach our office online or call directly at 815-981-4859.

What You Can Expect On A Field Sobriety Test

The field sobriety test is a standardized test developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It involves an officer asking a driver to perform the following three tests in order:

  • The horizontal gaze nystagmus test — This test requires a person to stand still and follow an object, typically a pen held by the officer, only with the eyes.
  • The walk and turn test— This test requires a person to take nine steps, heel to toe, along a straight line on the side of the road, then turn while keeping the front foot on the line and return.
  • The one-leg stand — This test requires a person to stand with arms at his or her side and to raise a straightened leg approximately six inches off the ground, holding it until the officer says to lower it.

Problems With Field Sobriety Tests

The most common problem with field sobriety tests is that they are administered improperly. Officers must follow at least 25 steps to properly run the test.

Beyond the administration of the test, there are problems with the test itself. Failing the test is relatively easy. Police look for someone to lose his or her balance or fail to follow directions as evidence that a person is drunk. While these can be signs of being intoxicated, there are several reasons why a person might make a mistake on a field sobriety test. These include:

  • Fatigue
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Poor physical coordination
  • Poorly given directions/confusion
  • Poor road conditions such as slopes, cracks or holes

Our Approach To Challenging Field Sobriety Tests

When you retain a lawyer at The Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler, Inc., the lawyer will examine all elements of your case thoroughly. When examining the field sobriety test itself, the lawyer will look into where it was administered, the directions that were given, how it was administered, whether there are inconsistencies in the police report and other weaknesses. We will make sure that we know your case better than law enforcement does.

Failing a field sobriety test is not the end of the world, but to fight it successfully, you should have an attorney with the skill and experience to defend you. If you live in Rockford or the surrounding area, contact our law office online to schedule a complimentary initial consultation or call 815-981-4859.