Kansas City Field Sobriety Tests
Are field sobriety tests accurate?
Field sobriety tests are given at the scene to establish probable cause to arrest. The three tests approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), Walk and Turn, and One Leg Stand tests. Police officers are trained to administer these tests in very specific, standardized ways to ensure their admissibility at trial.
NHTSA's own studies reveal significant error rates when officers fail to administer the tests correctly. Even when the tests are done correctly, the accuracy of the tests is far below 100% when measured against actual alcohol content in studies by the NHTSA. Also, a person's weight, footwear, physical impairments, and the lighting, surface conditions and weather in the area are all known to effect performance.
There is no doubt that field sobriety tests are given a lot of weight by judges and juries. Many times, a review of the dash-cam video and the police report reveal errors and other defenses to the admissibility of these tests. Attorney Steve Schanker has the necessary knowledge and skill concerning NHTSA field sobriety training, administration and performance to help you win your case. Call now for a free consultation.
Types of Sobriety Tests
There are three main field sobriety tests used in the U.S. The first is the walk and turn test. This divided attention test requires the driver to walk along a straight line heel-to-toe while counting their steps out loud. The second test is the one leg stand. This is also a divided attention test and it requires them to balance while counting. Lastly, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test is used to examine exaggerated jerking in the eye. Although these tests are useful in determining whether or not a person is under the influence of alcohol, they are not completely accurate.
Kansas City DWI Charge
Whether you passed or failed any of these divided attention tests was entirely up to the officer who conducted the test, meaning that there is a chance of error. The results are often prejudiced by the fact that the officer already had suspicion before initiating the test. On top of this, it may have been difficult in any case for you to pass the test, based on footwear, weather, age, medical conditions or your weight or other contributing factors. By the use of testimony as well as the dash-cam video from the police car, it may be possible to prove that the tests were not properly administered or that it produced a false positive. A Kansas City DUI lawyer can help you determine whether the field sobriety tests that led to your arrest may have been invalid.
Attorney Steve Schanker has more than 20 years of experience with
DUI cases and has an extensive understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of field sobriety tests. He will meet with you directly to review your case and decide whether challenging the procedure and results of the test will be an effective strategy in your defense. If your future hangs in the balance, it is important to establish whether the evidence against you is valid or if you can avoid a conviction and the penalties that may follow you for years.
Contact a Kansas City DWI lawyer to learn more about challenging the evidence of a field sobriety test.