Field Sobriety Tests
FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS
For more than 30 years, law enforcement agencies in the U.S. have employed the standardized battery of field sobriety tests which were developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Previously, law enforcement had to rely on their own subjective tests and opinions to determine whether a driver was under the influence of alcohol.
Effects of Alcohol On The Body
The NHTSA tests were intended to provide law enforcement with a more objective measurement of a driver's impairment and to supply evidence which would be more reliable in court - but whether or not they achieve this end is up to debate. The field sobriety tests, which include the One-Leg Stand, the Walk-and-Turn and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, are anything but perfectly accurate. Even the NHTSA acknowledges this. On their own website, they state that the accuracy of the entire set of tests ranges from 81 to 91 percent, with some individual tests being as low as 8 percent accurate. With such room for error, one has to ask whether these tests should continue to be admitted as evidence in a court of law. If there is as much as a 92 percent chance that the test is wrong, should it be used as evidence to have a person convicted of a crime and subjected to harsh criminal penalties?
One of the most common strategies in a DUI case that is based on the fact that the driver failed the field sobriety tests is to subpoena the footage from the police car dashboard video camera. This allows the attorney to scrutinize the circumstances of the traffic stop to find law enforcement errors such as mistakes in explaining the tests or other conditions which would prejudice the test results against the suspect.
Effectively Challenging Evidence
In addition to this, you can benefit from the fact that the Long Beach criminal defense attorneys of the Law Offices of Falangetti & Weimortz are former Deputy District Attorneys who have extensive experience prosecuting DUI cases and know how to aggressively cross-examine police officers to demonstrate that they made mistakes in the investigation. To learn more about how we challenge this type of evidence, contact us at (562) 256-7140 now for a free confidential consultation.