St. Louis DWI Defense Attorneys
In order to arrest you for DWI, the police must have probable cause to believe that you were driving under the influence of alcohol. They have a variety of tools at their disposal to gather this type of evidence, including their own observations, preliminary testing of your breath, and your performance on field sobriety tests.
Once you have submitted to field sobriety testing there is a possibility that the tests were not administered properly. If administered improperly, these results can potentially be excluded as otherwise bad evidence against you. To have an attorney review your case, call the St. Louis criminal defense attorneys at Muhlenkamp & Bernsen today to schedule a consultation.
Field Sobriety Testing Basics
The Standardized Field Sobriety Tests are a battery of three tests: the Walk and Turn, the One Leg Stand, and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, which are discussed in more detail below.
- The Walk-and-Turn – In the walk and turn, you are asked to take nine steps, heel-to-toe, on a line, and then turn around and return in the same manner. The officer administering the test will look for signs of intoxication, such as taking the wrong number of steps, using your arms to maintain balance, stepping off the line, or not walking heel to toe.
- The One Leg Stand – The one leg stand requires you to stand on one leg while counting out loud, by thousands, until you are told to stop. The officer administering the test will look to see whether you sway, hop, use your arms for balance, or put your foot down, or show any other signs of intoxication.
- The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus – Nystagmus is an involuntary twitching/jerking of the eyes that occurs when a person is under the influence of alcohol. When administering this test the officer asks the subject to track an object while he or she moves it from side to side. The officer observes the subject’s eyes, looking for signs of intoxication, such as lack of smooth pursuit and onset of nystagmus prior to 45 degrees.
Can You “Pass” the Field Sobriety Test?
Many people are under the mistaken impression that they can “pass” the field sobriety test. It is important to understand that the SFST is used more as an evidence gathering tool than a way for officers determine whether a person is drunk or not. In fact, if you have been asked to do the field sobriety test, there is a good chance that the police officer who pulled you over has already decided that you are intoxicated and is planning on arresting you regardless of how you perform on the test. For this reason, it is often advisable to refuse the test rather than give the police more evidence that can be used against you.
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Call a St. Louis DWI Defense Lawyer Today
If you have been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Our lawyers are dedicated to protecting the rights of people who have been accused of drunk driving and work hard to secure the best possible outcome in each case we handle. To schedule a free consultation, contact us at 314-499-7255.