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Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer / Denver Field Sobriety Test Lawyer

Denver Field Sobriety Test Lawyer

Drivers may be asked to perform a field sobriety test by law enforcement following a sudden swerve from one lane to the next, or after being pulled over for another moving violation and the officer has reason to believe that the driver is intoxicated. Unbeknown to most Coloradans, drivers 21 years old and above have no obligation to take a sobriety test, and we encourage drivers to politely decline. If you were arrested, however, a Denver field sobriety test lawyer may be able to help. Reid DeChant at DeChant Law can help you prove that the test was conducted improperly, that it was performed under poor conditions, and that it should not be used as evidence for a DUI conviction.

The Problem With Field Sobriety Tests

The main problem with a field sobriety test is that a completely sober person can fail one.The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) created a guideline for field sobriety testing, but many police officers still perform the tests improperly. More importantly, the results of the test are largely subjective, which is why sober drivers sometimes fail tests. Older drivers with poor balance, and those with disabilities or poor vision, are particularly likely to fail a field sobriety test. Bad weather conditions, poor lighting at night, loud traffic rushing by, and other factors can also impact the accuracy of a field sobriety test result.

The Three Most Common Field Sobriety Tests

  • Walk and Turn—The driver is asked to walk on an imaginary line, or the white line on the shoulder of the road, placing their heel of one foot to the toe of the other as they go. After taking a predetermined number of steps—usually nine—the driver is required to do a 180 degree turn and walk back on that same real or imaginary line. A driver can fail the test by not taking the correct number of steps, stepping off the real or imaginary line, or by not placing their heel to the other foot’s toe.
  • One Legged Stand—The driver is asked to stand on one foot with the other six inches off the ground, during which they are required to count to 10. If the driver puts their arms out to steady themselves, touches their foot to the ground, or fails to count to 10, they will fail the test.
  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus—The police officer will hold a light to the driver’s eyes and ask them to follow it back and forth. its motion. The officer is supposed to look for the driver’s eyes to wobble back and forth or jerk away from the light, which is allegedly a sign that the driver is intoxicated.

These tests are only 65 percent to 77 percent accurate, and that is under ideal conditions with the test being conducted by the officer to the T.

Call a Denver DUI Third Offense Lawyer Today

The result of a field sobriety test is not proof of intoxicated driving, it is simply evidence. And with any type of evidence, it can be challenged. By working with a Denver field sobriety test lawyer, it may be possible to have the DUI, DWAI, or other charges thrown out. Call Reid DeChant at DeChant Law today at 720-634-6789 for a free case evaluation.