Standardized Field Sobriety Tests
“Please step out of your vehicle!” These are the words that most drivers who are being investigated for a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge hear just prior to being requested to complete field sobriety tests. There are a number of field sobriety tests that an officer can request a driver to perform in Pennsylvania, but only three have been recognized by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) as standardized tests. These include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test, the Walk and Turn test and the One Legged Stand test. These are the only three field sobriety tests deemed accurate enough to be considered standardized tests.
If you have been arrested for DUI in Pennsylvania, the police officer who charged you undoubtedly requested that you submit to field sobriety tests. What many people do not realize is that there are very specific standards and criteria for administering standardized field sobriety tests. An experienced DUI attorney can properly cross-examine an officer concerning these standards and criteria to establish inaccuracies in the testing procedure. In addition, the tests are merely indicators of someone’s impairment. According to the NHTSA a police officer who observes two or more clues of impairment on the walk and turn test is only accurate 68% of the time when trying to predict whether the offender is a .10 BAC or higher. So, a police officer is incorrect 32% of the time even when administering the walk and turn test correctly. Similarly, an offender who exhibits two or more clues of impairment on the one-legged stand test is above a .10 Blood Alcohol Concentration only 65% of the time. This information needs to be presented to a judge or jury effectively by an experienced trial attorney.
If you are facing DUI charges in Bucks or Montgomery County, it is essential that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Clemons, Richter & Reiss have greater than 25 years combined experience handling DUI cases. We will meet with you and assess your case during a free consultation. Understanding the law, potential defenses and constitutional challenges is imperative for anyone who is seeking the best outcome for their case.
Please contact Scott A. MacNair, Esquire or Daniel M. Keane, Esquire at 215-348-1776 to schedule an appointment today.
This article is not legal advice and is provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.