How Field Sobriety Tests Affect a DUI Case

Criminal Law
How Field Sobriety Tests Affect a DUI Case

How Field Sobriety Tests Affect a DUI Case

by Van Den Heuvel Law Office

Every year, thousands of drivers face DUI (Driving Under the Influence) charges, a legal predicament that can have significant repercussions. One crucial aspect of these cases often revolves around the administration and interpretation of Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs). Understanding the intricacies of these tests can be instrumental in navigating a DUI case. Our attorneys at the Van Den Heuvel Law Office are experienced in defending clients facing DUI charges. For individualized advice specific to your situation, contact us to set up a consultation. 

What are Field Sobriety Tests?

Field Sobriety Tests are a series of physical and cognitive tasks administered by law enforcement officials to determine whether a driver is impaired due to alcohol or drugs. The results of these tests can significantly influence the outcome of a DUI case, highlighting their importance in this legal context.

Types of Field Sobriety Tests

There are various types of FSTs commonly used by law enforcement officials. These include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test, the Walk-and-Turn test, and the One-Leg Stand test. Each test examines different physical and cognitive responses that may be impaired by alcohol or drug use. For instance, the HGN test looks for involuntary eye movements indicative of intoxication, while the Walk-and-Turn and One-Leg Stand tests assess balance, coordination, and the ability to follow instructions.

The Impact of Field Sobriety Tests on a DUI Case

The results of FSTs can heavily impact a DUI case. Passing these tests might aid in avoiding a DUI charge, while failing can lead to severe consequences such as fines, license suspension, and even jail time. 

  1. Evidence of Impairment: FSTs are often the first piece of evidence used to build a case against someone suspected of DUI. If you fail these tests, the prosecution can use the results as proof of your impaired driving ability.
  2. Probable Cause for Arrest: Failure of an FST can provide law enforcement with the probable cause they need to make a DUI arrest. When officers believe that your physical or cognitive abilities are impaired based on your performance in these tests, they may have enough reason to take you into custody.
  3. Affect on License Suspension: A failed FST could lead to immediate license suspension, even before a court hearing. This could significantly impact your daily life, limiting your ability to drive to work, school, or other obligations.

Challenging Field Sobriety Tests

Remember that it’s possible to challenge your FST results alongside a criminal defense lawyer. While challenging an FST in court can be complex, it’s possible. Legal strategies may focus on questioning the officer’s training and experience with FSTs, the conditions under which the test was administered, or the inherent subjectivity of the tests. Our skilled attorneys can effectively argue these points, potentially undermining the prosecution’s case.

Seek Guidance From a DUI Lawyer

Facing a DUI charge is a serious matter, and Field Sobriety Tests play a significant role in such cases. Understanding the various types of FSTs, how they’re administered, and their potential impact on your case is crucial. If you’ve failed an FST or are facing a DUI charge, consulting with an experienced attorney at the Van Den Heuvel Law Office is advised. Our knowledge can guide you through the complexities of your case, including challenging the validity of FSTs, and help you navigate the road ahead.



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