Field Sobriety Tests Giving You a Fighting Chance

Rhode Island Field Sobriety Test Lawyer

We Fight Against the Results of a Field Sobriety Test

Police officers will often rely on field sobriety tests to determine whether or not someone is driving under the influence. The problem with these tests is that there is such a large margin of error, and there are many other factors that can negatively impact the outcome of the tests. If you have been arrested, put our Rhode Island field sobriety test lawyer on your case.

The Law Office of Thomas C. Thomasian, Esq. is led by an award-winning Rhode Island DUI lawyer who is committed to protecting your legal rights. Do not wait to seek counsel after being arrested!

What is a Field Sobriety Test?

Field sobriety tests (FST’s) are a set of exercises that were supposedly created to determine whether or not someone is intoxicated. They test many functions, including one’s balance, ability to follow an object with your eyes, and whether or not you can walk in a straight line.

These tests include the following:

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus test (HGN): For this test, the officer will move an object side to side in front of your face. Your task is to track the object with your eyes. The officer will watch your eye movement to see if nystagmus occurs – involuntary jerking of the eye. If you're unable to follow the object or you exhibit nystagmus before normally would occur, the officer may suspect that you're intoxicated.
  • Walk-and-turn: As it sounds, the walk-and-turn test requires you to walk heel-to-toe along a straight line, turn around, and repeat the process. Various types of behavior during this task may suggest to the officer that you've had a few drinks. For example, losing your balance or not touching your heel to your toe may result in a "fail."
  • One-leg stand: During this task, you're required to stand on one leg while counting aloud. The officer will be watching you to see if you exhibit behaviors that suggest intoxication, such as putting your arms out to balance, dropping your lifted foot, or swaying.

These are the three that are currently approved and standardized, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, police officers might use other tests or other tactics that may not be lawful to arrest someone. If that is the case, then you may have a valid defense for your case. You must seek counsel as soon as possible from a RI field sobriety test lawyer.

Factors that Can Impact FST Results

As you can imagine, doing any of the tests listed in the previous section can be difficult. Even sober, you may struggle to complete any one of the tasks, and various stimuli can impact your performance.

Some non-alcohol-related factors that may lead to a "fail" on one or more of the FSTs include but are not limited to:

  • Health conditions: Having a bad back or knees, injuries, or vision problems, and other medical issues can all contribute to poor field sobriety test performance.
  • Improper environment: When officers are trained in administering FSTs, they learn in "ideal" conditions. However, in the field, conditions are far from ideal. Cracks in the road, uneven pavement, poor weather, and other environmental factors can make it difficult for you to balance or walk a straight line. Even something such as the clothes you're wearing can affect your performance.
  • Nervousness: Being pulled over is a stressful situation and can hinder your ability to process information accurately. Because of your mental state, you might mishear the instructions, or you may forget to do something like make sure your heel touches your toe.

Because the result of a field sobriety test can be affected by things other than alcohol, if an officer asks you to participate in them, politely refuse. Then, speak with a DUI lawyer as soon as possible.

Field Sobriety Test Defense Strategies in RI

You are under no obligation to submit to a field sobriety test. If ever you are stopped for driving under the influence, you should decline the officer politely, and exercise your right to hire a RI field sobriety test attorney. The Law Office of Thomas C. Thomasian, Esq. has handled numerous DUI cases in RI for several years, and we know what to expect when it comes to forming a defense. We urge you to contact the firm right away to fight your charges and protect your legal rights.

Schedule a free case consultation today.

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