The Field Sobriety Test

Find Out if Your Field Sobriety Test Can Be Challenged.

As Houston DWI Lawyers will tell you, Field Sobriety Tests are used by police officers to help them determine your level of impairment. While there are a number of Field Sobriety Tests out there, there are essentially three standardized tests from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which are commonly used. These three tests include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, the Walk and Turn test and the One Leg Stand test. Many people are unaware that they are not legally required to engage in field sobriety tests, and that there is no penalty for refusing to do so. If, however, you did agree to Harris County Field Sobriety Tests or Harris County Breathalyzer Tests, you need Houston DWI Attorneys to help challenge the results of those tests. Houston Criminal Lawyers are well-versed in defending those facing Harris County Criminal Court and potentially Harris County Jail.

Even the three tests which have received the NHTSA’s stamp of approval have been found to have inaccuracies as high as 30 percent overall, with some tests more problematic than others. Officers sometimes use less well-known Field Sobriety Tests such as the finger count test, the stand and balance test, or even reciting the alphabet backwards. Some officers have even been known to combine tests, such as having a suspect stand on one leg and balance while tilting the head back and bringing the fingers of one hand to the nose, then the other. There are serious problems with these tests, because many people could not perform the tests successfully if they were 100 percent sober. While ostensibly, the goal of Field Sobriety Tests is to determine the agility and coordination of a person—to determine whether the suspect is sober enough to follow instructions and perform the tests—in fact field sobriety tests can be wrongly used to convict a person of a DUI in Texas. Having Houston DWI Lawyers decipher your Harris County Field Sobriety Tests and defend you against those results can be hugely helpful for your DWI in Texas.

How Did the Officer Determine You Were a Good Candidate for Harris County Field Sobriety Tests? - Prior to administering the Field Sobriety Tests, the police officer must have reasonable suspicion of your DWI in Texas. He or she must also determine whether you are physically able to perform Harris County Field Sobriety Tests or whether only Harris County Breathalyzer Tests are warranted.   If you have any sort of physical disability, if you are over the age of 65, or if you are significantly overweight, then the officer definitely should not ask you to take any of the Harris County Field Sobriety Tests. The officer must also take careful note of the weather and terrain. As an example, if you would be required to walk on rocky ground, ground that is uneven or ground that goes uphill, the Field Sobriety Tests should not be administered. Further, if the weather has dictated conditions which could potentially alter the results of your Harris County Field Sobriety Tests, then you should not be asked to engage in these tests.  To avoid Harris County Criminal Court, your Houston DWI Lawyers may decide to challenge your Harris County Field Sobriety Tests.

Why You Could Fail the Harris County Field Sobriety Tests Even if You Were Completely Sober - The One Leg Stand is done while you stand with your feet together, arms at your side. You must then raise one leg approximately six inches off the ground in front of you. While you attempt to lift your leg, the officer will be looking for any signs of unsteadiness, swaying, hopping, or using your arms for balance. Many people, while totally sober, do not have the balance to accomplish this test in a satisfactory manner. Anyone with a history of ear problems or balance problems could have significant difficulties “passing” Harris County Field Sobriety Tests.

The Horizontal and Vertical Gaze Nystagmus involve following a light with your eyes while the officer checks for any sort of “unusual” eye movements. There are several eye conditions, glaucoma among them, which can prevent a person from performing well on the HGN tests. Finally, the Walk and Turn test requires that you take nine steps, heel-to-toe forward, then you must turn and take nine steps, heel-to-toe back. The theory is that an impaired person cannot multi-task sufficiently to complete this test, but the reality is that most adults are barely able to satisfactorily conduct one task at a time, let alone more. For any of these Harris County Field Sobriety Tests, the officer may have improperly relayed the instructions or even given the instructions in a language you did not understand, leading you to perform poorly.

Know Your Rights - As noted, it is never mandatory for you to take Harris County Field Sobriety Tests, and you are allowed to (politely) refuse these tests with no fear of reprisals. Police officers rarely tell you the tests are not required because they want the evidence to use against you should the case go to trial. If you have been arrested for DWI in Texas, Texas DWI laws can be complex, and if your case is based on Harris County Field Sobriety Tests, then hire knowledgeable Houston DWI Attorneys immediately. These tests—as well as Harris County Breathalyzer Tests and Harris County Blood Alcohol Tests—can often be challenged successfully in court, however the officer and the Harris County District Attorney are hoping you are not aware of these facts.

Why Houston DWI Lawyers are Necessary - If you have been arrested and charged with DWI in Texas, having Houston Criminal Defense Lawyers from Sullo & Sullo can completely change the outcome of your charges. Being convicted of DWI in Texas based on Harris County Field Sobriety Tests can lead to Harris County Criminal Records and Harris County Jail. The Sullo & Sullo Houston Criminal Defense Lawyers with Payment Plans also offer Houston Criminal Lawyer Free Consultations. Our experienced Houston DWI Attorneys will thoroughly assess your Harris County Arrest and the results of your Harris County Field Sobriety Tests and Harris County Breathalyzer Tests then will determine the best defense on your behalf.

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