Field Sobriety Tests Lawyer
DUI Lawyer in Knoxville, TN
If you have you been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) due to a failed field sobriety test, do not just assume that you will be convicted of a DUI offense. Field sobriety tests can be used as an indicator of intoxication in an extremely controlled environment or in the exact standardized manner. Unfortunately, this is often not the case.
Police often use field sobriety tests as a way to gather evidence against a driver to prove that he or she is driving under the influence. But when a standardized test is conducted improperly, the test is no longer reliable or accurate. Rather, a field sobriety test becomes a mere judgment call made by an officer. An experienced Knoxville criminal defense attorney can successfully challenge the results of a field sobriety test.
Types of Field Sobriety Tests in TN
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
Nystagmus is used to describe the involuntary jerking motion of the eye. Nystagmus can be caused by alcohol or drug intoxication. Often, however, nystagmus can be a normal physical trait or can result from a previous blow to the head or other injury. The human eye normally moves smoothly, but an eye with nystagmus will move in a jerking motion. Normally, a person showing signs of nystagmus is unaware that it is happening because it does not affect the person's vision. During this test, an officer will look to see whether the eye movement is smooth or establish the degree to which nystagmus is visible.
A police officer will instruct a driver to choose one leg and lift it off the ground six inches while pointing the toe forward. The police officer will then tell the driver to count out loud to 30. While the driver is performing the test, the officer will be looking to see whether the driver sways, raises his or her arms to counterbalance, puts a foot down, or exhibits other behavior that may indicate a high level of intoxication.
One of the most difficult field sobriety tests is the walk-and-turn test. Police officers will instruct a driver to stand heel to toe with their hands by their side. The driver must take nine steps touching heel to toe. The driver will be required to count each step out loud. The driver is then made to turn around and repeat the process. Every time the driver's balance falters, the driver doesn't touch the heel to toe, steps off the line, or acts in a way that suggests intoxication, the officer will count it as a clue that the person is under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance.
Other Field Sobriety Tests
Police officers will utilize other tests in determining whether a driver is under the influence while behind the wheel. Some tests include requiring a driver to touch the finger to the nose. Other tests include reciting the alphabet. Although these tests are not standardized, they often are allowed in a case to serve as evidence against the accused driver.
Defending You After an Arrest
If you have been accused of a DUI due to failing a field sobriety test, speak immediately with a knowledgeable Knoxville DUI lawyer. Even sober people have difficulty passing these standardized tests. When a standardized test is highly questionable, the results should be as well. Common defenses could include:
- Age, weight, height
- Illness, allergy, or fatigue during the time of the test
- Inner ear, back, leg, or feet problems
- Distracting external conditions, such as poor weather, rain, wind, car headlamps
If you are charged with DUI, you could be stuck with a criminal record for life. Do not take the chance of going without representation after you have been arrested for failing a field sobriety test. Contact Robert R. Kurtz, Attorney at Law immediately
after an arrest to schedule a
Attorney Kurtz has been named Top DUI Attorney in Knoxville by Cityview Magazine and has an Avvo Rating of 10.0 Superb. With 13 years of legal experience dedicated to defending his clients personally, he can be trusted to go the lengths to ensure that you do not suffer the maximum penalties in Tennessee.