Field Sobriety Tests Defense in Jacksonville

Powerful Defense from Our Dedicated Legal Team

If a police officer suspects you are driving under the influence, the officer will ask you to perform field sobriety tests. While the officer will not tell you this, these tests, unlike the breath test, are voluntary and rarely to your advantage to agree to take them as they are fundamentally physical agility tests and can be failed by even a sober person. Nevertheless, if you fail, the officer will use them to defend the decision to arrest you for DUI.

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

For those who have been arrested following field sobriety tests, there is good news. By working with an experienced Jacksonville DUI lawyer well-versed in these tests, you may be able to invalidate the results in court. Usually prosecutors use breath, blood or urine test results to establish that a defendant is DUI. However, sometimes these test results are not usable in court due to procedural errors. At that point, the prosecutor will fall back on field sobriety tests to prove that you are DUI. The most common tests are:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN): The officer positions an object twelve inches away from your eyes and moves it back and forth. The officer observes your eyeballs to see if they lurch or quiver.
  • Walk and Turn (WAT): You are asked to take nine heal-to-toe steps along a line and then turn around and walk back. The officer watches to see if you lose balance or make mistakes.
  • One Leg Stand (OLS): While standing straight with arms at your side, you are asked to raise one leg six inches and start counting until the officer tells you to stop. The officer watches for you raising your arms to balance yourself or any other non-optimum action.

Common Defenses Against FSTs

Just because you have been told that you "failed" a field sobriety test does not mean that you will be convicted. There are several different factors which can be utilized during a DUI defense cases that are to your benefit. For example, it could be argued that there were extenuating circumstances which made it appear that you had failed the test when in all actuality, you had not.

Even just being nervous could cause a sober person to appear to be intoxicated during these tests. What if you have poor balance? What if you were uncomfortable shoes? What if the officer was unclear with the directions? All of these are questions that will be investigated by your attorneys. Field sobriety tests are clearly outlined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – if the officer did not administer them perfectly, there could be grounds to defend your future against conviction.

We Offer Free One-Hour Consultations

At The Law Offices of Jason K.S. Porter, P.A., we defend clients charged with DUI in the Jacksonville, Florida area. As former DUI prosecutors, we are alert to police violations of field sobriety test procedure. Furthermore, we know that these tests, even when administered properly, mean little more than the client is not agile. We are also aware that police observations are subjective, biased and often exaggerated. In court, we make these points forcefully as we press for acquittal of charges.

Call (904) 701-0591 or request your free one-hour consultation online to start your defense!

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