All too often clients tell me they know their case is a “lost cause” or that they don’t think there is any hope because the officer told them they failed the field sobriety tests. There are many reasons this belief is far from reality. First, just because an officer says you failed the field sobriety tests doesn’t mean you actually did fail. An experienced Akron DUI attorney can review the evidence to determine how you truly performed on the field sobriety tests. You performance on field sobriety tests should be reviewed in consideration with a number of important issues: the officer’s instructions and demonstrations; the clues cited by the officer; and the reliability of the field sobriety tests.
For your performance on the field sobriety tests to be worth consideration, the officer must have given you proper instructions and demonstrations. The procedure for field sobriety testing is laid out in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Manual. This manual explains exactly how an officer should perform the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, the Walk and Turn test, and the One Leg Stand test. If the officer did you give you proper instructions and demonstrations, then how could he expect you to perform the test properly? For example, if the officer never told you to count your steps out loud during the Walk and Turn test, how could he possible expect you to do so? A knowledgeable Akron, Ohio DUI attorney knows how the tests should be given and can determine whether you were properly instructed.
When you perform the three field sobriety tests, the officer is looking for “clues” to determine your level of impairment. The NHTSA manual describes what the clues are for each of the three recognized field sobriety tests. Despite the manual’s descriptions, officers often rely on behaviors that are not recognized by NHTSA, will dock you multiple times for the same mistake, or misinterpret a “clue”. For example, the officer may say you were out of position during an instruction phase, but were you really? Should the officer have held the fact that you didn’t count out loud during the One Leg Stand against you? An experienced Akron, Ohio DUI attorney knows how to spot NHTSA recognized clues to determine how well you actually performed the field sobriety tests.
Although officers place a great deal of importance on the field sobriety tests, they often are unaware of how unreliable the tests actually are. A number of studies have reviewed the accuracy of the NHTSA recognized field sobriety tests. Each of these studies have concluded that a significant number of people who demonstrated the required number of “clues” were actually under the legal limit. A knowledgeable Akron, Ohio DUI attorney can put these field sobriety testing studies to work for you.
As former prosecutors, we have a great deal of experience with all aspects of the NHTSA manual. We know how to determine whether the office gave you the proper instructions, how you actually performed on the tests, and can explain what the studies mean in your case. Call our experienced Akron DUI attorneys Megan Patituce and Joseph Patituce today at (330) 752-6706 for a no-hassle, no obligation free consultation.