Failed Field Sobriety Tests
Just because somebody fails the field sobriety test does not mean the person is guilty. Field sobriety tests are very difficult to pass even if a person has not been drinking, even if the person is doing it on a flat surface, inside a controlled environment. Usually field sobriety tests are given outside, on the road, on an un-level surface, with police lights in the person’s eyes. Sometimes the temperature is very cold, and the police officer expects the person to walk a straight line, nine steps down, nine steps back, or hold your foot in the air for 30 seconds, which is very difficult to do, and prosecutors and judges know that. So just because the officer says a person has failed the field sobriety test, especially if there is no evidence of video, then that will be looked upon not very highly with the prosecutor or a judge in a Pennsylvania DUI case. If facing DUI charges of any kind let our PA DUI lawyers help as they have an in depth knowledge of what to do regarding failed field sobriety tests.
Pennsylvania FST Defense Attorneys
The current Field Sobriety Test system was developed by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHSTA) several decades ago. They were concocted as a means and method of potentially and theoretically revealing how intoxicated someone is. The Field Sobriety Tests are conducted by police at the time someone is pulled over and suspected of DUI. Police officers are allegedly trained to look for various ‘clues’ or scoring factors that can theoretically establish whether or not someone is intoxicated.
In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania there are 3 Field Sobriety Tests (FST) used to ascertain how buzzed, drunk or intoxicated someone allegedly is. These tests are:
1. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN Test)
The eyeball jerks involuntary as it naturally rotates in its socket. This physiological function is called the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. A person who is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol has the ability to follow a moving object smoothly. If a person is sober the eyeball will not repeatedly stop and start. When someone is intoxicated due to alcohol consumption nystagmus is much more pronounced and exaggerated. This results in a jerking motion as the eyes rotate. When conducting the test the police officer has the person follow an object with their eyes, normally a pen or flashlight. There are 3 criteria the officer is trained to look for in this test. If, once test is completed, you demonstrate 4 or more ‘clues’ then you are allegedly have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of at least .10 which is above the legal limit.
2. Walk And Turn Test
The walk and turn test involves the suspect taking 9 heel to toe steps in a straight line. At the end of the 9th step you are required to turn on one foot and return by taking 9 more heel to toe steps. There are 8 possible ‘clues’ regarding ones level of intoxication. If you demonstrate 2 or more you are allegedly intoxicated and could be arrested for DUI in Delaware County and Chester County Pennsylvania.
3. One Leg Stand Test
The one leg stand test requires you to stand with one foot at least 6 inches off the ground and count by thousands i.e. one one thousand, two one thousand, etc. This continues until you are instructed to put down your foot. 30 seconds is the standard amount of time you are required to stand on one foot. There are 4 commonly accepted intoxication indicators in this test: swaying to maintain balance, using arms to balance, hopping to maintain balance and putting your foot down before being told to do so.
Field Sobriety Test Flaws And PA DUI Defense
These three tests can potentially indicate that you are intoxicated. They are not always accurate however and have several possible flaws. There are many reasons why a person cannot pass the field sobriety tests that have nothing to do with being intoxicated. These reason could have to do with possible being physically disabled, lacking certain motor skills, taking prescribed medication and advancing in age.
Also, if your DUI case goes to trial the FST results become even more important. Many times the police officers did not properly administer the FST’s and that can be uncovered in court. They may have used incorrect or inappropriate scoring criteria or were improperly trained regarding ho to administer the tests. Having a skilled Chesapeake City Maryland DUI Attorney on your side will address these possible FST flaws and help you get the best possible outcome regarding your DUI case.
Contact A PA DUI Defense Attorney
Retaining a Pennsylvania DUI Lawyer makes sense regarding your DUI case. Mr. Kellis will make sure your rights are protected throughout the entire legal process. Mr. Kellis will tenaciously defend your rights while attempting to keep the negative consequences of your pending drunk driving charges to a minimum. Let him put his extensive experience to work for you.
Serving all of Eastern PA including Allentown, Norristown, Philadelphia, Doylestown, Lancaster, Media, Upper Darby, York, Harrisburg & Chester.