June 28, 2010

Understanding Field Sobriety Tests

What are Field Sobriety Tests?

There are a number of different field sobriety tests used to find DUIs.

Utah law enforcement uses field sobriety tests to help find impaired drivers.

When you have been charged with a DUI in Utah, you need effective representation to ensure your rights are not infringed by an aggressive prosecution. At Utah Defenders, our lawyers have helped guide many Utahns through the process of a DUI case.

You may have been charged with a DUI after an officer ran you through a series of field sobriety tests.  One of the reasons clients choose our team of DUI Defense Attorneys, is our experience and knowledge of the DUI field sobriety tests performed by law enforcement officers during a traffic stop. We understand how each DUI test is suppose to be performed. Often officers do not perform certain tests correctly which is easily determined by our attorneys who can than use the officers potential mistakes to strengthen your defense. A field sobriety test that was not performed correctly can raise doubt in the mind of the jury. DUI test results are often the key pieces of evidence in DUI cases. You will need an attorney who can discredit this evidence where applicable.

The Different Field Sobriety Tests

The most common tests performed by law enforcement officers investigating a DUI are the field sobriety tests which include the horizontal gaze nystagmous, the walk and turn, and the stand on one leg test. After the field sobriety tests are performed the officer may have probable cause to conduct a breath test or bodily fluid test. 

The breath test is another common DUI test administered by law enforcement. There are essentially two different types of breath tests. The first is the portable breath test in which an officer will administer a breath test to an individual at the scene of the traffic stop. Portable breath tests are not always admitted into evidence because such results are typically unreliable. The other breath test is a more reliable test given at the police station after you have been taken into custody. An officer who administers this breath test must be certified.

Often, once you have been taken into custody, the officers will have you submit to chemical DUI testing; usually a blood, urine, and or oral fluid test. The blood test is generally the most reliable of the chemical tests administered for DUI. However, a blood test can only be administered by someone licensed to do so, typically a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional. Individuals who refuse to take a chemical test may lose their license for up to 18 months and may face additionaly penalties.

Free Consultation – Know Your Rights!

If you have been charged with a DUI in Utah and submitted to field sobriety tests and chemical tests, you likely have many questions about the potential penalties you are facing. Don’t go at it alone. Call one of the Utah Defender’s experienced DUI Defense Attorneys today. Our Criminal Defense team can advise you as to your rights regarding the test evidence against you and will scrutinize the tests conducted in your case to determine if law enforcement followed the proper procedures. We offer free consulations and are available 24/7. Call us today at 801.618.1334. You can also email us at your convenience.