Field Sobriety Tests
Westchester DWI Attorney Explains Field Sobriety Testing
Anyone who has travelled through an airport has passed through the metal
detectors at the security checkpoint. These detectors are used to screen
passengers and determine whether any of them are carrying weapons such
as knives or guns. It is common, however, for the machine to go off when
a passenger walks through with a belt, jewelry or other type of metal.
In other words, not everyone who sets off the metal detector is guilty
of attempting to carry a deadly weapon onto an airplane. The same is true
of the standardized field sobriety tests which are used by law enforcement
agencies nationwide to determine whether a
driving while intoxicated (DWI) suspect is ability impaired.
Types of Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests do not test for intoxication; they test a driver's
ability to perform feats of physical coordination. Officers will ask a
suspect to perform this test as a way to demonstrate that someone who
cannot successfully carry out the steps involved in the test lacks the
coordination necessary to drive. The tests can include:
One-Leg Stand (OLS)
The suspect is instructed to stand with one foot approximately six inches
above the ground while counting for approximately 30 seconds. Swaying,
using the arms to maintain balance, hopping or putting the foot down before
instructed to do so by the officer are all considered to be indicators
Suspect is required to take nine steps in a straight line, heel-to-toe,
followed by turning on one foot and returning in the same manner. Among
the indicators of impairment are failure to maintain balance, starting
to walk before instructed to do so, stepping off the straight line, and
using the arms to balance.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)
The officer moves a pen or small flashlight back and forth in front of
the suspect's eyes, while watching for inability to smoothly track
the object with the eyes, distinct jerking of the eyes at the extreme
sides of the movement, and onset of jerking within 45 degrees of the center.
Challenging Field Sobriety Tests
Even though these various tests have been evaluated and determined to be
more effective than random tests implemented by police officers, they
are still highly subjective. The evidence gathered in these tests is often
open to interpretation and can be fought with the assistance of a skilled
representative. Even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,
the federal agency that developed the tests, admits that the tests have
a combined accuracy rate of only 91 percent as of 1998.
Choose a Westchester DWI Lawyer with a 95% Success Rate
Attorney Robert Schuster has never lost a DWI trial. He can help you fight
your DWI. It is often possible to challenge and / or invalidate the test
results by subpoenaing the footage from the police car dashboard video
camera, which provides objective evidence regarding the circumstances
of the test. Similarly, an experienced Westchester criminal defense lawyer
can challenge the test evidence by aggressively cross examining the police
officer in court to expose a lack of understanding and training in the
test procedures, or to expose evidence that invalidates the methods by
which a test was administered.
The Law Offices of Robert Schuster can provide the DUI defense that you
need. Mr. Schuster has
never lost a DWI trial, and he has been recognized as a leader among his peers in the New York
legal community. His accolades include being named as one of the top 100
DWI attorneys in New York by the NAFDD and being named as a Top 10 DWI
Lawyer in New York by the American Institute of DWI Attorneys. Attorney
Schuster has proven his ability to get results.
Contact The Law Offices of Robert Schuster for more info and to get started on your defense.