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Field Sobriety Tests

Are tests accurate? Answers from an Atlanta DUI attorney!

Field sobriety tests involve three standardized tests, the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the walk and turn, and the one leg stand. Each test is designed to help a law enforcement officer measure the physical and cognitive functions of a suspected drunk driver when in the field. These tests subject you to an officer's opinion of your performance. However, the results may be skewed by poor road or weather conditions, or a driver who is injured, ill, weary, or nervous.

Using the innate faults of field sobriety testing, a defense attorney can work to prove that a field sobriety test failure was influenced by extenuating factors other than alcohol or drugs. If you submitted to and failed a field sobriety test, or if you refused to take a field sobriety test and were subsequently arrested for drunk driving, qualified legal representation may be able to help. At Sailers & Associates, a premier Atlanta criminal lawyer can defend you after a DUI arrest in Georgia.

Different Types of Tests
There are three standardized field sobriety tests which may be administered in the case of an Atlanta DUI stop:
  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: the officer will have you follow an object or light with your eyes. He/she is looking for an involuntary side to side movement of the eyes, which is said to be an indication of intoxication.
  • Walk and Turn: the officer will have you walk in one direction, heel to toe, for a certain number of steps and then turn and walk in the other direction. This test is used to test balance, coordination and the ability to follow instructions.
  • One Leg Stand: the officer will have you stand on one leg with your arms at your sides. This test is used to test balance and the ability to follow instructions.

In some cases, field sobriety tests are a good measure of a person's level of intoxication, but they may also be failed due to an individual's weight or age, or due to an injury, illness, weariness, or nervousness. A medical condition or other physical condition could also hinder an individual's ability to perform a field sobriety test and pass. Therefore, the results should not be relied upon for a 100% accurate measure of intoxication.

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