During the course of a driving while intoxicated (DWI) investigation, Austin law enforcement agents collect several pieces of evidence that can be used to establish your guilt such as their observations regarding your driving and appearance, the breathalyzer reading, and your performance on the field sobriety tests. Fortunately, a failed field sobriety test doesn’t mean that you will automatically lose your case; in fact, there are several ways that your DWI lawyer can fight your test scores.
Unlike breathalyzer or blood test results, which are more scientific, scoring the field sobriety tests is subjective. While you are performing the one-leg stand, walk-and-turn, or the horizontal gaze nystagmus tests, the officer will look for a number of clues that may be considered signs of intoxication and meet the criteria for a DUI arrest. However, what the police may consider symptoms of impairment can also be signs of another problem or condition.
For example, the horizontal gaze nystagmus measures the involuntary jerking of your eyeball. The theory says that when a person is intoxicated, this jerking becomes more pronounced; however, several eye and neurological disorders can also cause nystagmus. So can caffeine and fatigue. By arguing that a factor other than impairment is to blame for your failed field sobriety test, your DWI lawyer can introduce reasonable doubt.
The walk-and-turn and one-leg stand tests require a great deal of coordination. When some individuals are asked to perform these tests–even in the most ideal of circumstances–they will fail even if they haven’t had anything to drink. But when you introduce the fear of being stopped by the police, dark conditions, the flashing of the police car’s lights, and passing vehicles, it can make it even harder to successfully complete these divided attention tests–something that can be pointed out when your attorney cross examines the arresting officer in court.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) developed the field sobriety tests as well as standardized guidelines to ensure that they are administered consistently by law enforcement agencies. Your DWI attorney can cross examine the officer to determine if he or she followed the proper guidelines when administering your tests. If he or she did not, it will challenge the accuracy of your score.
Attorney Ken Gibson has undergone extensive training on the field sobriety tests, giving him the insight he needs to properly represent clients accused of DWI in Austin. To learn how he can fight your field sobriety test results, please call our law office today for a free DWI case evaluation.