Field Sobriety Test: Can You Fight the Results?

Have you heard of a field sobriety test? If you’re pulled over on suspicion of DUI, the police officers are going to ask you a series of questions. They’re also going to make observations about the way you interact with them. If they think there’s a chance that you’re driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will ask you to submit to two tests. The first test is a breathalyzer test. This test measures your blood alcohol concentration. If the test results are higher than a .08, you will be considered driving while under the influence. Regardless of the results of the breathalyzer, the police can also ask you to take a field sobriety test. This is where things can get interesting for your Orangeburg DUI attorney. Since your performance of the field sobriety test is supposed to be recorded, your criminal defense lawyer in Orangeburg gets a chance to pick apart the police officers interpretation of how you performed.

It’s important to remember that if you do blow higher than a .08 on the breathalyzer test, they may not even ask you to do a field sobriety test. And if they do ask you to take this other test, your performance may not be all that important. Legally, if you have a blood alcohol concentration higher than 08, it is considered a per se DUI. This just means that, according to the law, you are technically and legally driving under the influence. However, if your breathalyzer test results are below the legal limit but the officer still suspects that you’re under the influence, they’ll ask you to do a field sobriety test. Depending on how you perform this test, there’s a chance you can be arrested and charged with DUI.

Here, we will discuss the ways in which your Orangeburg DUI attorney can challenge the results of the field sobriety test. We’ve also explained why it’s in your best interest to hire a criminal defense lawyer in Orangeburg to handle this matter for you.

If You’re Pulled Over for DUI, the Police Will Ask You to Submit to 2 Tests

As briefly mentioned above, if you’re pulled over on suspicion of DUI, the officers will ask you to submit to two different tests. Most people who have ever watched a reality television show about police officers know what these two tests are. You probably also know what they entail. We’ve all seen the shows where a cop pulls someone over for drunk driving and ask them to blow into a portable breathalyzer machine. They blow until they hear the beep and then the officer looks to see what the results are. If they are over 08, you will almost always be arrested on the spot for DUI.

The problem is that even if you perform well on the breathalyzer test, they may still ask you to take a field sobriety test. There’s a few reasons for this. First, the officer may suspect that you’re under the influence of something other than alcohol. With the drug epidemic being what it is, the officers always have to be on the lookout for people who could be under the influence of any of the following substances:

  • Marijuana
  • Methamphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Fentanyl

The breathalyzer test is not going to look for any of these things. This is why the cops may still have you perform a field sobriety test even though you did not blow above the legal limit.

What Does the Field Sobriety Test Entail?

The field sobriety test is meant to test your coordination and motor skills. These things are affected heavily when people drink alcohol. If you have one or two drinks, it probably won’t impact the way you perform on a field sobriety test. However, if you have several beers or a couple cocktails with a shot or two, there’s a good chance that you will not perform well. In fact, some of our clients tell us that they wouldn’t be able to perform this test even if they were stone cold sober. This is why our Orangeburg DUI attorneys always want to see a recording of our client’s feel sobriety test.

Essentially, a field sobriety test entails three different skills. First, you may be asked to walk a straight line, heel to toe. The officers are looking to see if you can walk a straight line and if you know when to stop. The second test they may ask you to do is to stand on one foot while counting to a certain number. The problem is that they don’t tell you what number you need to count to. It’s hard for anybody to keep their balance for that long. Even if it’s only 20 or 30 seconds, it can be quite difficult.

And the third and final test will usually ask you to follow an object that moves back and forth in front of your line of sight. With this test, they’re looking to see if you’re able to do what they ask you to do without moving your head at the same time.

Your Orangeburg DUI Attorney Can Challenge the Officer’s Interpretation of the Field Sobriety Test

In the opinion of our criminal defense lawyers in Orangeburg, a lot of drivers are charged with DUI despite the fact that they performed rather well on the field sobriety test. It all comes down to how the officer interprets your performance. In the moment, they may think that you had trouble holding your balance on the one-legged stand. They may claim that you were not able to follow the object as required. They may say that you did not walk in a straight-line heel to toe. Even giving the officers the benefit of the doubt, they are human. Human beings make mistakes all the time.

By looking at the video recording of your field sobriety test, it gives your Orangeburg to you I attorney a chance to see if the officer’s interpretation of your performance was way off. If so, they will petition a prosecutor and ask them to either dismiss the charges against you outright, or at least reduce them to reckless driving.

You Have a Better Chance of Having the Charges Reduced if You Retain a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Orangeburg

Knowing what’s on the line, and knowing that the field sobriety test is subjective, it’s in your best interest to hire a criminal defense lawyer in Orangeburg right away. Our Orangeburg DUI attorneys are familiar with the DUI laws as well as the ways in which the officers go about presenting the field sobriety test. With so much at stake, it’s not in your best interest to try to tackle this all on your own.