Field Sobriety Tests
Major Factors in DUI Charges
How will your performance on field sobriety tests affect a possible DUI charge? In Arizona, a driver may face a conviction for DUI (driving under the influence) if he or she has an unlawful blood alcohol concentration or if his or her mental/physical abilities are impaired due to alcohol or a controlled substance. To prove impairment of physical and mental abilities, law enforcement officers will typically use field sobriety tests.
A field sobriety test will allow an officer to evaluate a driver's balance, coordination and ability to follow instructions. For example, the walk and turn test involves having the driver walk in one direction for 9 steps, heel to toe, and then turn and walk in the other direction. If the driver cannot walk in a straight line or count up to a certain number, the officer may use this against him or her to try to prove that his or her mental or physical abilities were hindered due to alcohol or drugs. Additionally, if the driver does not follow directions properly, makes any comments about the test or about what he or she has had to drink during the test (for example: "I couldn't do this if I were sober!"), that may be used against the driver as well.
Fighting Your Test Results
Although you may have been pulled over and told that you performed poorly on or failed field sobriety tests, there are still strategies that a competent Phoenix DUI lawyer can use to help you avoid a conviction. For example, physical conditions such as a driver's age, weight, an illness, or a physical injury may affect a driver's ability to perform on a field sobriety test. Even the shoes that a driver is wearing may affect his or her performance. Your attorney can bring these issues to light to counteract any allegations law enforcement and the prosecution have made against you regarding your physical and mental capabilities.