I find that almost all of my clients tell me one of two things when talking about their performance on the field sobriety tests: (1) either they feel they passed, or (2) they are devestated at the feeling that they completely failed and will be convicted. Almost all of my clients fail the tests, in fact I believe only one client was actually documented passing the test. That was an easy case to win, however, most cases require us to go beyond what the officer says and demonstrate a number of different factors. As a side note: from a purely strategic standpoint you should NEVER take the field sobriety tests. If the officers believe you have been driving drunk they are going to arrest you.
So, you took the tests… what are they and how do we defend them:
1- Defending, and defeating, the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (or the pen test)
In 2007 NHTSA issued a publication trying to defend this test. However, it revealed how unreliable this test really is. When performed, perfectly, police officers would be expected to arrest an individual with a BAC of less than .08 77% of the time. This can be found on Table 10, page 14 of their study. Even more shocking is that a minor deviation in the distance that the pen, or other object, is held from the eyes increase the number of incorrect arrests from 77% to 92%. This can be found on table 13, page 18 of their same study. Again, it is important to note that most cops, judges, prosecutors, and sadly defense attorneys do not know about this.
2- Defending and attacking the walk and turn, as well as the one leg stand tests.
These tests are the meat and potatoes of the field sobriety tests. However, these tests are just as hard for the police officers to administer as they are for the general public to perform – even when sober. Any meaningful mistake made by the police officers renders these tests typically inadmissible in court. For instance, if the police officer gives the wrong instruction (often happens) the tests can be thrown out. If the officer demonstrates it incorrectly (it can be thrown out). All of my attorneys are former prosecutors, we know how to spot police errors in your favor.
We offer pressure free, no obligation, consultations. Call us at (330) 752-6706 and ask to speak to me, Joe Patituce, or one of my attorneys and you will be speaking to a skilled Akron DUI Attorney.