Field Sobriety Tests
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When a highway patrol officer pulls someone over for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), they often need to collect more evidence before they can justify an arrest. To get that additional evidence, the go-to strategy is to tell the suspect to take a field sobriety test (FST). Even though an FST is proposed as a way to prove sobriety or intoxication, you should know they are skewed from the beginning to be out of your favor.
If you were arrested for a DUI after taking a field sobriety test, you can still challenge the charges and fight to save your driver’s license and freedoms. Connect with Fife Luneau, P.C. and our Denver DUI defense attorneys right away. With thousands of DUI cases successfully managed throughout our years of experience, we are the first name in DUI defense for people throughout Colorado.
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Different Types of Field Sobriety Tests
A highway patrol officer will use a number of field sobriety tests to try to prove the suspect is intoxicated. All of them are heavily subjective, relying on the officer’s own discretion to reach a decision. This is not favorable for you.
Some of the most common field sobriety tests are:
- Walk a line: You will be instructed to carefully walk a straight line with your arms at your side and in an unnatural gait that puts one foot directly in front of the other. The test does not account for the fact that the ground could be slippery or uneven, like curbside dirt, which could make you stumble and appear intoxicated.
- Stand on one foot: The police officer will instruct you to stand delicately on one leg for an extended period of time, often up to an entire minute. People with physical debilitations may have a difficult time standing solidly on one leg, even when entirely sober.
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus test: The most notorious of all FSTs, the horizonal gaze nystagmus test involves the officer shining a light in your eyes and waving a pen in front of your face. You are told to follow the pen tip with just your eyes, and if your pupils shake or you cannot follow the pen closely, you will be accused of being intoxicated. There are clear problems with expecting someone’s eyes to behave normally in the presence of a bright light and a pointed object.
You Should Refuse Field Sobriety Test When Possible
Before you agree to take an FST, ask the officer if the test is mandatory or not. If the FST is not mandatory, you should be able to refuse it without immediate legal or administrative consequence. As aforementioned, such tests are skewed to prove intoxication, not sobriety, so it is often best to avoid them. Keep in mind that if you refuse any test deemed legally mandatory, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended regardless of the outcome of your DUI case.
Put a Fighter in Your Corner with Fife Luneau, P.C.
Trying to contest a DUI requires an in-depth knowledge of Colorado’s criminal laws and processes, especially if the prosecutors are leaning on evidence collected through field sobriety tests. You can move forward with your case and defend yourself confidently with our Denver DUI attorney. We have intentionally devoted the entirety of our law firm to DUI defense, so you know you can trust in our abilities to do the right thing for you.
The sooner we get to work on your case, the better. Call (720) 408-7130.