I have had many people ask me how to beat the DUI field sobriety tests. These tests usually consist of the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test, the one-leg stand, and the walk-and-turn. The short answer is that there is no way to beat these tests. They are subjective tests and the officer’s opinion is the only one that matters at the time of the tests. I have never seen anyone pass them—in the arresting officer’s opinion.
Attacking the Results
There are several ways to attack the results of field sobriety tests at a preliminary hearing or at trial. First of all, because these tests are so common, there are standard procedures that must be followed when administering the tests in order for them to produce a reliable result. For example, when administering the HGN, the officer’s pointer must be at a certain angle and distance from your face in order for a reliable result to be produced. If it is not at this angle and distance, then the credibility of the officer’s test (and his opinion of whether or not you displayed the symptoms of intoxication) can be attacked.
There are many other standards that must be met for all of the field sobriety tests. I have found that officers deviate from these standards in almost every DUI stop. An aggressive DUI attorney will know the standards and be able to cross-examine the officer effectively in order to get your DUI charges dropped.
Refusing Field Sobriety Tests
The best way to beat the DUI field sobriety tests at the time of the stop is to refuse to do them. You are not going to pass these tests, and by refusing to even attempt them, you are giving the police less evidence to use against you. The easiest DUI cases that I handle are those in which my client refused all field sobriety tests. Both a judge and a jury will be skeptical of the case if there are no field sobriety tests to look at. Do yourself a favor: just refuse.
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