Field sobriety tests are standardized procedures through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that attempt to determine if a person is intoxicated while driving. While these tests are standardized, they are far from 100% accurate. In fact, many drivers "fail" these tests when they are perfectly sober and able to drive.
If you or someone you care for was arrested as the result of failing a field sobriety test, an experienced Fulton County DUI attorney can defend your case and fight for your rights.
Field Sobriety Tests in Fulton County
There are certain standardized tests that are employed by Georgia law enforcement on a regular basis.
Walk and Turn Test
The walk and turn test consists of nine steps forward, heel-to-toe along a straight line, a 180-degree turn, and nine steps back again. This test is especially inaccurate for people who are elderly or overweight. The standard "stride" that officers are trained to look for is not necessarily standard for every person. This can create a false positive indication of intoxication.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
In this test, the officer looks for a serious of measurements to look for an abnormal "nystagmus." Nystagmus refers to bouncing or jerking of the eye when the eyes are moved from side to side. This typically occurs when an officer shines a light in the driver's eye and asks him or her to follow a pen.
Officers look for lack of smooth pursuit, early onset of nystagmus, and distinct nystagmus at the far left or right of the turned eye. Some people have a natural nystagmus, and contacts or medical issues can create a nystagmus. This can create a false positive as well.
The one-leg stand test requires the driver to stand on one leg for 30 seconds with the driver's arms by his or her sides. The driver is expected to look down at his or her foot during the test. Officers look for putting the foot down before the end of the test, swaying while trying to maintain your balance, hopping, or using arms to maintain balance.
The one-leg stand test is designed for people to fail. Even a perfectly sober person may have trouble standing on one leg for 30 seconds under such specific conditions. Roads may be uneven, covered in gravel, or a medical condition may make it difficult to finish the test.
Challenging the Field Sobriety Test Results
When errors occur in the standardized testing process, the results of the field sobriety test can be challenged to reduce or possibly dismiss the charges against you. Testimony of the parties and any video evidence from a dash cam can be used to invalidate the test.
An experienced attorney can analyze the steps that law enforcement took in applying the tests. Our attorneys are highly experienced in challenging field sobriety tests.
Consult a Fulton County DUI Attorney
Field sobriety tests are notoriously inaccurate and are designed to make you fail. If you have been arrested as the result of a field sobriety test, you can challenge the results to defend your case. An experienced Fulton County DUI attorney is here to help. Contact us today.