Field Sobriety Tests and DUI Arrests

Strong Defense from Mesa DUI Attorneys

In our years of serving Mesa, Phoenix, and the surrounding Arizona State areas, our criminal defense lawyers here at Naegle & Crider PLC have seen many people who have been arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) solely based on field sobriety test (FST) results. We are here to set the record straight, tell you what law enforcement officials probably do not want you to know, and, of course, defend your rights in court. Contact us for more information about our legal services, or view our recent successes for a cursory review of what we have done for our latest clients.

Field Sobriety Tests Compared to Chemical Tests

When you are pulled over by a police officer, they will sooner than later want to test your sobriety curbside. This is why it is called a field sobriety test – they are conducting their “research” then and there. What you are probably not told is that you have the right to refuse field sobriety tests without immediate penalty.

If the officer asks you to submit to a chemical test, such as a breath, blood, or urine test back at the station, matters are different. Refusing to take a chemical test to analyze your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level may result in an instant license suspension by the Arizona State Motor Vehicle Department (MVD). Due to the fact that this is an administrative suspension, not one generated by criminal punishment, even the best criminal defense lawyer in Arizona will not be able to counter the decision. In nearly all situations, it is advised that you never refuse a chemical test for this reason.

Types of Field Sobriety Tests

The reason you are permitted to refuse a field sobriety test without losing your license stems from the fact that even the criminal justice system knows that FSTs are unreliable. In ideal situations, the outcome of the test is still 100% determined by an officer’s own discretion, not anything scientific. Ideal conditions do not exist, though, and a factor as unnoticeable as a lump in the ground or just anxious nerves could make you “fail” an FST.

Three of the Most Common Field Sobriety Tests Are:

  1. Walk a line: The officer will tell you to walk a straight line, foot behind foot, without using your arms for balance. Is the line even straight? Is it drawn on level terrain? There is plenty that can go wrong here and dramatically skew the results.
  2. Balance: You will be asked to stand on one foot for an extended duration. We invite you to attempt to do this now to see how “easy” it is, especially if you are wearing uncomfortable shoes, have a foot injury, or are husky.
  3. Eye focus: The horizontal gaze nystagmus test involves shining a bright light in your pupils and telling you to follow the end of a pen with just your eyes, not your head. If your eye shakes, you are determined to be intoxicated. Any data taken from the results of this test are questionable due to the eye’s natural reaction to look away from harsh sources of light.

Phoenix DUI Attorneys with Your Best Interests in Mind

Have you been arrested due to the results of a field sobriety test or chemical test? Do not lose heart. Find strength in knowing that our Mesa criminal defense lawyers can still protect you from the heavy and unforgiving hand of the law. Any sort of BAC test results can be challenged by our skilled and creative team of legal advocates, and any penalty could be reduced or dismissed. It is only a matter of taking action and standing up for your rights.

We offer free case evaluations to inquiring clients. Call us today for more information.