Attacking Field Sobriety Tests - Liberty Law

You can fail a field sobriety test for a variety of reasons, even if you are not legally intoxicated.  Field sobriety tests are difficult. And if you’re tired, uncoordinated, and anxious, you may not pass

The prosecutor’s introduction of the horizontal gaze nystagmus test may present your Salt Lake City DUI lawyer with a good opportunity to suggest to the jury that a variety of innocent reasons may have caused you to fail. The horizontal gaze nystagmus test is notoriously unreliable and presents a multitude of innocuous grounds for failing the test.

In addition, most field sobriety tests have complex steps. Despite this complexity, police officers usually explain the steps only once, and in just a few seconds. You are then expected to follow the instructions perfectly. Rather than a sobriety test, this procedure becomes more like a contest.

When the officer testifies on direct examination about the instructions he or she gave you, your Salt Lake City DUI lawyer might time how long the officer takes to state the instructions. Then, when your lawyer cross-examines the officer, your lawyer can confirm that he or she gave you the instructions the same way and that the instructions took less than 20 seconds.

In closing statements, your Salt Lake City DUI lawyer might argue to the jury how well you did on the field sobriety tests despite the complex instructions being given so quickly. Your attorney could ask the jurors whether they can even remember all the instructions and remind the jurors that they’ve had the benefit of hours, not seconds, in court discussing the field sobriety tests.

If you’ve been arrested for DUI, contact Salt Lake City DUI lawyer James Lee for a free evaluation of your case.