Field Sobriety Tests

DUI Police Report Errors

Challenging Incriminating Evidence

There are only three field sobriety tests recognized by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as “valid” standardized tests. However, to be “valid” these tests must be administered by the officer in the manner prescribed and standardized by NHTSA.

The three standard tests are:

  1. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN)
  2. The Walk and Turn (WAT)
  3. One-leg Stand (OLS)

While the police officer may have given you other tests, these are the only three tests that have been validated by the NHTSA. Police officers use these tests as a means to indicate whether you have been driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Physical conditions that affect your brain, eyes or parts of your body that involves standing or walking may negatively affect your performance on these tests, whether you have consumed alcohol or not.

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Gathering Evidence Against You

  • The officer continued to gather evidence as you stepped from your vehicle
  • He or she watched for signs of poor balance, such as using the vehicle for support or using your arms to balance as you stand or walk.
  • Next, the officer likely had you perform voluntary field sobriety tests to gather further evidence against you.
  • Admissions of drinking, consuming marijuana, or taking prescription or even over-the-counter drugs are strong evidence.
  • Some drivers believe the officer will let them go if they “cooperate” by admitting to having “only a couple” drinks. This is not the case.
  • Your constitutional rights include the right to remain silent and to speak with an attorney before questioning.
  • If you exercised these rights, you did the right thing. If the officer continued to question you after you invoked your rights, the court may suppress your statements, and a competent defense attorney may be able to negotiate a reduction of the charge.

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Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test

If the police asked you to step out of the car and had you follow a stimulus with your eyes, they were administering the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test.

During this field sobriety test, the officer is looking for the following symptoms:

  • involuntary jerking of the eyeball at rest, or while following the stimulus
  • involuntary jerking of the eyeball at the farthest point it can move to the side
  • involuntary jerking as the eyeball moves to the side before it gets to a 45-degree angle

 

Nystagmus can be caused by many things other than intoxication. Nystagmus can also be caused by head injuries, rotation of the body, objects moving into and out of sight, traffic driving by, strobe lights, tired eyes, brain tumors, brain damage, and inner ear disorders, to name a few.

Walk and Turn Test

Picture an “imaginary line.” It’s not so easy, is it? Now picture a police officer quickly throwing countless instructions at you with no opportunity to practice! This is the Walk and Turn field sobriety test. Imagining a straight line (or on an actual line), you must take nine heel-to-toe steps up then back, count each step out loud, keep your hands at your sides, keep your eyes watching your feet, and turn correctly.

If you do more than one of any of the following, you have failed:

  • Cannot keep balance during instruction phase
  • Start the test too early
  • Step “off” the imaginary (or real) line
  • Miss touching heel to toe on any step
  • Stop walking during the test
  • Use your arms to balance
  • Raise your arms from your sides by more than 6 inches
  • Make an incorrect number of steps
  • Make an “improper” turn
One-Leg Stand

As in the Walk and Turn, with the One-Leg Stand field sobriety test, you receive quick instructions with no chance to practice first. You must do the following: raise one leg six inches off the ground, keeping both legs straight with your raised foot parallel to the ground, keeping your arms at your sides while counting, “one thousand and one, one thousand and two” and so forth until told to stop.

You fail the test if you do more than one of these occurs:

  • If you sway while balancing
  • If you raise your arms
  • If you put your foot down
  • If you hop

“Tough DUI Laws Require Tough DUI Lawyers”

Linda M. Callahan

plan of action

know your rights

Washington State has some of the toughest DUI laws in our nation. These laws carry increasingly severe penalties for those who drink and drive. Washington lowered the BAC limit from .10 to 0.08 in January of 1999. Drivers with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) at .08 or above can now be convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol. In addition, because public sentiment is so very negative toward drunk drivers, prosecutors will often pursue a DUI conviction even when the driver’s test result is well under .08! This is possible because they can obtain a conviction if they can show the person drove while “affected by” alcohol, and/or marijuana or any drug, including prescription or over-the-counter medications.

We Challenge The Following Evidence On Every Case.

01

Probable Cause

Before you were asked to step out of your vehicle, the officer has been gathering evidence to support the arrest.

02

Field Sobriety Tests

As Ms. Callahan likes to call them “Bad Science”, FST’s are virtually impossible to pass, especially if the officer is the one grading you.

03

Breath Test - BAC

Factory trained, Linda M. Callahan understands the science behind breath testing most attorneys don’t.

04

Blood Test

With extensive training at Axion Labs in Chicago, Linda M. Callahan has the relevant experience to challenge Blood test evidence.

Linda M. Callahan - NHTSA Standardized Field sobriety Test Administrator
Linda M. Callahan

Attorney Linda M. Callahan is a trained NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Test Administrator. If the officer improperly administered your tests, or if they were not done voluntarily, she will vigorously cross-examine the officer for his or her sloppy lack of attention to proper procedures and failure to conduct the tests in the required manner. This can seriously undermine the officer’s credibility and could lead to an acquittal, dismissal or a reduced charge

Learn more about defense strategies and evidence

We know DUI Law better than most firms.  That’s why we are trusted by Thomson Reuters to Author the DUI Practice Manual for Washington every year since 2006.  We literally write The Book on DUI.

Let Us Be Your Legal Advocate

Contact one of our Experienced DUI Attorneys today and get the advice you need now.  Learn how to save your license and stay out of jail.

With Offices in Seattle, Olympia, and Shelton, we literally surround the Puget Sound.

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Disclaimer: The legal information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results set forth herein are based upon the facts of that particular case and do not represent a promise or guarantee.  This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the state of Washington.

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