If you were given field sobriety tests and later charged with a DUI, an experienced Valdosta defense attorney can help you avoid the harshest criminal penalties. When you’re pulled over and an officer suspects you may be intoxicated, you may be given a series of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs). The approved SFSTs in GA are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test, “Walk and Turn” test, and the One Leg Stand test.
These SFSTs were created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to help an officer determine when a person is impaired. However, they are flawed and often do not provide accurate results. An experienced DUI defense attorney can evaluate the field sobriety tests given to you during a traffic stop and help you build a strong defense. Call The George McCranie Law Firm today at (912) 384-2889 to find out how we can help you with a DUI.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
The only “scientific” SFST is the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test. The HGN test looks for involuntary eye movement as the eye moves side to side. An officer may conduct HGN field sobriety tests by asking you to follow a moving object, such as a pen or small light, as it moves across your vision.
During the HGN test, the officer may look for the following indicators of impairment:
- Eye twitching or jerking
- Inability to move the eye smoothly from side to side
An experienced DUI defense attorney knows how to point out all the flaws in the HGN test!
Walk and Turn Test
Another SFST is the Walk and Turn test. This test attempts to evaluate your ability to walk a straight line turn and return while dividing your attention. The Walk and Turn test is performed by asking you to take nine steps in a heel-to-toe fashion, then turn around and return to your starting point in the same manner.
During the walk and turn test, the officer may look for the following indicators of impairment:
- Inability to walk heel-to-toe
- Stepping or stumbling outside of a straight line
- Taking the wrong number of steps
- Using arms or legs to balance while walking
Even when conducted correctly this test is only 79% accurate, according to the NHTSA. An experienced DUI defense attorney can gather evidence to show that the Walk and Turn test was flawed.
One Leg Stand Test
An officer may also use the One Leg Stand test along with the other field sobriety tests. This test evaluates your ability to complete a balancing task while multitasking or dividing your attention. The officer should ask you to balance on one foot for 30 seconds while counting out loud by 1000’s.
During the One Leg Stand test, the officer may look for the following indicators of impairment:
- Swaying or inability to remain still while balancing
- Hopping to maintain balance
- Using arms to maintain balance
The One Leg Stand test is not very accurate. So a skilled DUI defense attorney can find problems with the test and present those problems to a judge or jury.
An Experienced DUI Defense Attorney Can Help If You “Failed” Field Sobriety Tests
When determining intoxication, most police officers utilize the SFSTs. However, the NHTSA tests are flawed. If you have certain medical conditions, are taking specific legal prescription medications or over the counter drugs, or are tired, your results may indicate that you were under the influence when, in fact, you were not. An experienced DUI defense attorney can support you and help defend your rights. We will your best defense against the government!