Field sobriety tests are used by police officers to evaluate a driver’s level of intoxication. Field sobriety tests are often used in conjunction with a Breathalyzer, which measures the amount of alcohol in one’s breath. Although field sobriety tests are commonly used in all 50 states, they are not always accurate. Officers may mistakenly arrest drivers for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs when the driver is not actually intoxicated.
The horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test
When an officer asks a driver to complete the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the officer is studying the driver’s eyes. When someone looks to the side at a high angle, the eyes will exhibit an involuntary jerking movement. However, when someone has consumed alcohol, this reaction may be detected when the driver looks to the side at a lower angle. In addition, after drinking, a driver’s gaze will not follow an object smoothly. Instead, the jerking movement will be apparent. When administering this test, the officer will have the driver follow an object, such as a flashlight, using only his eyes (not moving the head from one side to another).
However, there are other conditions that may cause a driver’s eyes to move involuntarily. For example, certain seizure medications may cause the jerking reflex. Some congenital conditions also cause an individual’s eyes to move involuntarily.
The walk-and-turn test
The officer will ask the driver to take nine steps in a heel-to-toe fashion. After counting the nine steps out loud, the driver must turn on one foot and return to the starting point in the same manner. The officer will watch the driver closely to see how well he can balance while walking. If the driver takes the wrong number of steps, turns incorrectly, takes the steps incorrectly, or uses his arms to balance, the officer may note these factors as signs of impairment.
There are several reasons why a person may fail the walk-and-turn test. The type of shoes drivers are wearing may impact their ability to walk in a heel-to-toe manner. Physical conditions, such as obesity, middle ear issues, or back and leg problems may also limit how well the driver can take the test. Further, the test must be given on a level surface.
The one-leg stand test
With the one-leg stand test, the driver is told to stand with one foot roughly six inches above the ground. The driver must then count upwards starting with one thousand. The driver must hold the foot above the ground while counting for thirty seconds. Again, the officer will watch the driver closely to see if the driver has any trouble balancing. The officer will also note if the driver counts incorrectly.
As with the walk-and-turn test, there are physical conditions that may impede a driver’s ability to complete the test correctly. Leg conditions, back conditions, knee conditions, and hip conditions are just a few. The elderly and those who are overweight will also have trouble.
What happens if you failed a field sobriety test?
If you failed a field sobriety test, you may be able to argue that the test was administered improperly. If the officer did not give you proper instructions, or if other conditions hindered your ability to complete the test, you may have a strong argument in court.
Contact our attorneys to build a strong defense in your DUI case
The DUI attorneys at the De Bruin Law Firm are experienced and aggressive. Our attorneys fight to protect our clients’ legal rights. To schedule a free case review, call (864) 372-2896.
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Once I have evaluated your case I will provide you an overview of your case. This will describe among other things the criminal law process, how we will work together to navigate the criminal justice system, and what expectation I have for you as a client and what expectations you should have for me as your defense attorney.
What should my attorney do to prepare my case for trial?
I collect not only the evidence that the government is required to supply, but also gather my own evidence for your defense as well. I will talk to witnesses, look for other video from third party sources, and go to the scene of the alleged offense. I believe your case is far to important not to go the extra mile to insure we know all the facts for your case, to provide you the best possible defense.
What do I need to do to help my attorney defend me?
No one cares more about your case than you. While we prepare your case, we also prepare your for trial. The one thing we need most from you is total honesty. Remember, everything you and I talk about is confidential. I am on your side.
For Drug offense cases, we may require you to look into a rehabilitation facility. I have had client’s charged with drug crimes who unfortunately we suffering from serious addiction and needed help, not jail. When I was able to convince those clients to make the difficult decision and enter a rehabilitation facility it helped create a positive situation that made negotiating their case more favorable. Many criminal cases last over a year. If I can help get a client suffering from an addition on the path to recovery while defending them from their criminal drug charges, their future becomes much more optimistic, and often, so does their case. Changing your life prior to trial or before a plea will greatly decrease your changes of going to jail. We are here to help not only with your legal needs, but also to help you in life. We have seen success stories and want you to be one too.
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Your attorney’s fees will be based on multiple things including but not limited to, the severity of the crime, the evidence against you, prior convictions, and the amount of jail time your are facing if convicted. For criminal defense services I charge my client’s a flat fee on almost all cases at the start of their case. Therefore, you know how much your case will cost on day one.
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Who will handle my case?
How do you know the attorney you hire is the attorney who will represent you during the entire process? I personally guarantee that I will handle every part of your criminal case, you will not be passed of t a junior attorney.
Aaron De Bruin | Criminal Defense Attorney
For over 10 years, Aaron De Bruin has been dedicated to representing clients within the criminal justice system. Aaron is committed to relentlessly providing his clients the legal counsel they deserve during the difficult times associated with a criminal charge. He prides himself on the ability to defend his clients and constantly seek the most favorable outcome for their individual situation.
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