The Georgia Field Sobriety Tests
Officers often use a number of field sobriety tests to see if you are impaired, most often the three tests are approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): the walk and turn, one leg stand, and horizontal gaze nystagmus.
If you have recently been arrested for driving under the influence in Augusta, GA or surrounding areas, after taking field sobriety tests, it may be too late to tell you that these tests are completely voluntary (that is you cannot be punished for declining to take them)?but it's never too late to challenge your results. Contact a DUI lawyer to do this. Scoring on these tests is done by the officer and is completely subjective, which means that his or her bias could result in an indication of impairment. Because of this, you should work with an attorney who can review your test to determine if it was scored fairly or if there were other factors that affected your performance.
Challenging the Field Sobriety Tests
The walk-and-turn and one-leg stand tests are divided attention tests, both measure your ability to follow simple instructions as well as to complete a physical task. The idea is that both of these abilities become diminished once a person is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. However, other factors could affect how a person performs these tests. For example, an individual who has a physical problem, is overweight, is sleep-deprived or is over a certain age may have a hard time successfully completing these tasks. Wearing the wrong shoes or even being nervous can also make getting a passing score more difficult. A DUI lawyer can fight to explain away what the officer scored as cues of impairment.
The horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), also known as the eye-test, is where an officer will ask you to follow an object with your eyes while he or she looks for your eyeballs to jerk (a sign of intoxication). However, a number of other physical and neurological conditions can also cause this involuntary jerking as you look side to side. An attorney can work with a medical expert to determine if a condition?other than the consumption of alcohol?is responsible for nystagmus.
Contact a DUI Lawyer Who Can Help
Duncan Law Firm in Augusta, GA has DUI lawyers to help you. The DUI lawyers have successfully completed the NHTSA standardized field sobriety test training?the same training that Georgia police officers attend. Thanks to the inside look into how these tests are conducted and scored, they can evaluate your case to find a way to challenge your results.