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How the Results of a Field Sobriety Test Can Affect Your DUI Case 
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How the Results of a Field Sobriety Test Can Affect Your DUI Case 

When you see red and blue lights in your rearview mirror, it can be frightening whether you had any alcoholic drinks or not. The police officer pulls you over, and now they are asking you to exit your vehicle to complete field sobriety tests. This is a serious matter, as a failed field sobriety test will quickly lead to you being arrested and charged with operating while intoxicated (OWI)

If you are in this situation, a Michigan OWI/DUI attorney from Friedman Criminal Law can help advise you of your options for your defense. Read on to learn more about how police use field sobriety tests to arrest as many people as possible. 

Field Sobriety Tests are Designed to be Failed

The police have created tools that work in their favor and support the outcome they are aiming for, which is often to find justification for an arrest. When you have “failed” a field sobriety test, the police will take you into custody, have your car towed and impounded, and you will be processed for the charges they think you are guilty of. 

Standard field sobriety tests include:

  • Walk-and-Turn – Walking heel-to-toe in a straight line – often on uneven pavement – and making a 180 turn following a specific number of steps. 
  • One-Leg-Stand – Standing with one foot six inches off the ground while you count out loud from one-thousand, which can be difficult for anyone under the best of circumstances. 
  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus – Following a flashlight or pen with your eyes to determine pupil dilation or eye movement – stress and many legal medications can cause the same outcome as being drunk, leading to a false positive 

First, these are not tests that you “pass” or “fail.” While you complete the tasks at hand, the officer should be observing you for subtle – or not so subtle – signs that you are under the influence. This can be as small as certain eye twitches or a failure to follow quick and specific instructions while under stress. However, officers will use the smallest of errors to justify an arrest. 

Field sobriety tests are difficult to complete even when you are stone-cold sober. Many Americans might not have the best balance, coordination, and focus on a good day – needless to say, while under the stress of a drunk driving traffic stop. Stress can easily skew a performance on field sobriety tests, and officers can mistake it for intoxication, which they use as evidence against you in your DUI case.

Further, police must follow the Michigan Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Program, though they often make mistakes when administering these tests. Violations of the program standards can lead to your charges being dismissed if your lawyer challenges them correctly. This is one reason to always have a skilled defense lawyer examine your field sobriety test. 

A Michigan OWI Attorney Can Challenge Your Charges

Field sobriety tests are optional, but many people undergo them, not knowing they have the ability to decline. This can then impact their DUI cases in many ways. Having an experienced Michigan DUI attorney on your side as soon as possible can help you fight the evidence against you. Call Friedman Criminal Law now to schedule a consultation and determine what your options are. 

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