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field sobriety assessments

An Unreliable Predictor Of Intoxication

If you are pulled over for suspected drunk driving, you may be asked to take one or more field sobriety tests to determine. Designed to indicate whether or not a driver is intoxicated, these assessments are used to by law enforcement officials to gauge balance, coordination and mental clarity.

Police officers often cite poor performance on these tests as justification for conducting a portable Breathalyzer test to determine a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). There is a problem with this approach to DWI stops, however, because these assessments  can be unreliable in establishing intoxication. As a result, numerous drivers may be wrongly presumed to be guilty of drunk driving.

An attorney understands the flaws associated with field sobriety tests and can question the validity of any assessments as part of your DWI defense.

If you’d like to learn more about DWI defense options that may be available,

Calling 212-500-3273

Types Of Field Sobriety Tests

There are a number of assessments used by law enforcement officials, but all of these tests have one thing in common: They are can be ineffective at identifying whether or not a person is intoxicated. Assessments may be divided into two types.

Standardized field sobriety tests include the:

  • Walk-and-turn test, in which you are asked to walk in a straight line, turn on one foot and walk back to the police officer. One-leg stand, in which an officer may ask you to stand on one leg to determine if you can balance.
  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which is an assessment used to determine if you have the ability to follow an officer’s finger or light with a smooth or fluid motion of your eyes.

Non-standardized field sobriety tests include:

  • Counting backwards
  • Finger-to-nose test
  • Finger counting
  • Saying the alphabet forward and backward

The primary differentiating factor between these two types of tests is that the standardized tests are recognized to be more reliable than non-standardized tests. While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has determined this to be the case, the agency has also found that none of these tests are foolproof in determining intoxication. As a result, a lawyer may be able to challenge performance on assessments  as a possible defense strategy..
 

How A New York City DWI Lawyer Attorney Can Help

If you have been charged with an intoxicated driving offense, it’s important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. After carefully analyzing your case, this legal representative can help determine if field sobriety tests were incorrectly administered and whether your performance on them could render them  inadmissible in court.

An attorney can also explore  what factors in your case could be used to benefit your DWI defense. For example, if you were wrongly pulled over by a police officer, your lawyer may be able to have your charges dismissed by showing that there was not probable cause for a DWI stop.

You can set up a case evaluation with one of our New York City DWI lawyers by
Calling 212-500-3273