Field sobriety tests are police conducted tests performed if a driver is pulled over and suspected of committing a DUI offense. They are objective tests which mean the administering officer will determine the results. If the officer believes that the driver has failed the test and suspects impairment, then it is possible that the driver could be brought in for questioning, arrested on the spot and asked to perform a breath, urine or blood test at the station.
Standardized Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests often do not hold up in court because, as mentioned above, they are objective. One police officer may think the driver has passed while another may think he has failed. There are a number of different tests that you may be asked to perform if you are suspected of drinking and driving. This can include:
- The one leg stand – you will need to prove balance by standing on one leg for a certain period of time. If you have been drinking then your coordination may be off, causing you to fail the one leg stand.
- The walk and turn – you will be required to walk in a straight line and turn around. Again, this tests your balance and if your balance is off, then it may suggest that the reason is because you are impaired.
- The horizontal gaze nystagmus test – an officer observes the driver’s eye movements when asked to follow an object from side to side. If the driver cannot do it, then it could suggest that he is impaired.
However, keep in mind that there are several other reasons why you may fail these tests. It might be dark out; you might be nervous; or you simply may not understand the directions. This is why it is so important to contact a Georgia DUI lawyer as soon as possible to determine what your next move should be.
Non Standardized Testing
There are other non standardized tests that you may also be asked to perform when pulled over on a suspected DUI. This can include:
- Standing with your feet together and tipping your head backwards.
- Counting the number of fingers that the officer raises
- Reciting the alphabet
- Counting backwards
- Touching your nose with the finger
Breath, Blood and Urine Tests
If a DUI is suspected, then the officer can arrest you. However, they will most likely require that you take another, more accurate test to determine your blood alcohol content level. You may be required to give a blood or urine test or you may be asked to take a breath test.
Georgia police officers currently use the Intoxilyer 5000 for breath tests. You will be required to breathe through a tube and the machine will determine your alcohol reading. However, this is not a completely accurate way of determining your blood alcohol content level and the Intoxilyer 5000 is known for its many design and accuracy flaws. What this means for you is that, even if you have failed the breath test, all is not lost and it is still possible to challenge your DUI and win. For example, the breath test could be inaccurate if:
- You were chewing gum or had cough syrup before the test
- You suffer from diabetes, esophageal hernia, heartburn or liver disease
- The administrating officer performs the test wrong
Contact a Georgia DUI Attorney
Facing a field sobriety test or a breath test can be scary indeed but it is not the end. Contact Tom Barton, an experienced Georgia DUI defense attorney at 770-961-7400. We are available around the clock to answer your questions and assist you with your case.