St. Louis DWI Defense Lawyers
When the police suspect that a driver is under the influence of alcohol, they will generally conduct a series of tests in order to determine whether the driver is impaired and to gather evidence against them. The tests most often used are:
- The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
- The Walk and Turn
- The One Leg Stand
These tests are usually performed at the scene of the traffic stop and involve the officer asking the suspect to perform certain tasks and observing them for signs of intoxication.
SFST and Gathering Evidence for DWI Arrest
Generally speaking, police officers do not ask people to perform the SFST without having already formed an opinion about whether they are intoxicated. As a result, field sobriety testing is often used more as a tool to gather evidence of intoxication than as a way to determine whether a driver is drunk. For this reason, in many cases, it may be advisable for drivers to refuse the field sobriety test and challenge the arrest (and DWI case) at a later date.
Field Sobriety Testing Reliability
In the 1990s, Dr. Spurgeon Cole of Clemson University conducted a study in order to determine how well police officers were able to determine whether a person was intoxicated based on the field sobriety testing alone. In the study, “Field Sobriety Tests: Are They Designed for Failure?” 14 police officers were shown video of 21 people taking common field sobriety tests. The officers were then asked, “Do you feel, as a law enforcement officer, that the following subjects, based on field sobriety tests performed on videotape, have had too much to drink to drive?”
46 percent of the responses from the officers indicated that a person had had too much to drink based on what they saw. In reality, all the individuals in the video were completely sober and had been verified at a 0.0 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) before the tests were conducted.
This is clear evidence that police officers are often biased in these investigations. That is specifically why you need an experienced attorney to challenge this one sided thinking.
Call Us Today to Speak with a St. Louis DWI Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested for DWI in the St. Louis area, you should call Muhlenkamp & Bernsen today. To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our lawyers, contact us at 314-499-7255.