When officers stop a person under suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), they typically request the driver participate in field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests in Carrollton DUI cases are not mandatory and there is no legal benefit, whatsoever, to participating in these tests because refusing to participate in them cannot be used against you in court.

Many of us have heard of the field sobriety tests, but knowing the specifics of what these tests entail can help ensure you understand your rights throughout the process. If you or a loved one are facing accusations of driving under the influence, contact a DUI attorney.

The Purpose of Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are a standard way for law enforcement officers to (allegedly) visually assess a person’s potential intoxication level to determine if they are, in fact, driving under the influence. Field sobriety tests, generally, are divided attention tests and are meant to mimic the divided attention required by driving. However, they can be impacted by a number of variables that law enforcement is not always great at considering.

These tests are not pass or fail, instead officers are simply looking for clues to support what is likely going to be a DUI arrest. If the officer stopped a person without sufficient reasonable suspicion and a Carrollton DUI attorney could make arguments to have the charge dismissed or reduced.

The Different Parts of a Field Sobriety Test

There are three parts to a field sobriety test. Officers in Carrollton might have motorists perform all or some components—this depends on an officer’s discretion, road conditions, and where the stop takes place. The three field sobriety tests are:

  • The walk and turn test;
  • The one leg stand test; and
  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test (HGN).

HGN is usually carried out with a flashlight or finger held in front  of a person’s face so that the officer can look at the person’s eyes to determine if nystagmus is present. It is important to note that someone can perform the field sobriety tests flawlessly and still be arrested for DUI

If someone believes there was an issue with the administering of parts or all of the field sobriety tests they were asked to perform, they should seek the assistance of a Carrollton defense attorney.

Problems With Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are known for inaccuracies because they are primarily based on an officer’s subjective opinion. It is not uncommon at all for officers to perform the tests incorrectly, and some officers will even admit that under oath on the stand. For example, an officer may have given unclear or wrong instructions or failed to adhere to the standard distance and time requirements of the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.

Another issue is that there are individuals who are required to perform the test who have a physical or mental disability. Health issues might impact a person’s balance and mobility issues. Knowing all that could go wrong with a DUI test, a Carrollton field sobriety lawyer could point out errors in the test on behalf of the accused.

A Carrollton Attorney Can Assess the Accuracy of a Field Sobriety Test

There is a lot that can go wrong with field sobriety tests in Carrollton DUI cases. From improper administration to a person’s biological or physical factors, the tests are arguably junk science and should be challenged by the defense.

If you participated in SFSTs in your DUI case, an attorney can help fight the charges you are facing. Contact J. Ryan Brown Law, LLC in person, over the phone, or through messaging.


J. Ryan Brown Law, LLC

J. Ryan Brown Law, LLC