Utah DUI Field Sobriety Test Defenses

Utah DUI Field Sobriety Test Defenses

Utah police officers often administer field sobriety tests during the course of a driving under the influence (DUI) investigation--along with a portable breathalyzer--to determine if a drunk-driving arrest can be made. Although the field sobriety tests are entirely voluntary, a failing score could be used as evidence of intoxication and/or impairment in a DUI trial. To challenge your test, working with a qualified Utah defense lawyer is advised.

Field Sobriety Test Defenses

The three standardized field sobriety tests--the walk-and-turn, horizontal gaze nystagmus, and one-leg stand--were developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In order to become a certified administrator, officers must take specialized training to learn the proper guidelines that must be followed when conducting these tests.

If an officer does not adhere to the guidelines or clearly explain the directions, a defense attorney may argue that there was no way for his or her client to successfully pass the test. By challenging the reliability of the test, your attorney can attempt to get your charges thrown out or create reasonable doubt within the mind of a jury.

The horizontal gaze nystagmus is a test that uses a small stimulus to test the involuntary jerking of the eyes, which--in theory--becomes more distinct when a person is impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. However, nystagmus can be onset by a number of medical and neurological conditions. By working with your doctor, a DUI lawyer may be able to prove that this result was caused by a factor other than intoxication.

The walk-and-turn and one-leg stand tests must be conducted on flat, level, dry ground in a safe location. If your test was administered on a rainy road or on loose gravel, an attorney may argue that these conditions affected your performance. In addition, certain individuals--such as those over 65, overweight, or with a physical disability--should be exempt from performing these physical tasks.

Let a Utah DUI Lawyer Challenge Your Field Sobriety Tests

The field sobriety tests are subjective, which means there is room for error. Allow a DUI lawyer to review your tests in order to determine the best defense against your results. We are committed to helping Utah residents challenge unfair or inaccurate field sobriety tests.