Experienced DWI Lawyer Albuquerque Discusses the Limitations of Field Sobriety Tests
Were you arrested for drunken driving based on the results of a field sobriety test? Salim Khayoumi, a former prosecutor and experienced DWI lawyer Albuquerque, can help.
Chemical Tests Compared
Chemical tests (e.g., a blood-alcohol test) may be the most reliable evidence of impaired driving because they scientifically and objectively measure a person’s blood alcohol concentration. Based on medical data derived from the test, a driver is either over the legal limit or is not. Field sobriety tests, on the other hand, are less reliable because they are subjective tests; whether a person passes or fails the test is entirely dependent on the judgment of the officer on the scene. The margin for error is compounded by the fact that the officer has no prior experience with the driver’s “normal” condition. Despite the inherent unreliability of field sobriety tests, they often are used to establish probable cause for arresting a suspected drunken driver.
NHTSA Sanctioned Testing
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has sanctioned the use of three field sobriety tests: the walk and turn; the one-leg stand; and the horizontal gaze nystagmus. According to the NHTSA, these three tests accurately measure reflexes that are often impaired when intoxicated. If you were administered one of these tests, a savvy DWI lawyer Albuquerque will want to know the circumstances surrounding the administration of the test in order to evaluate the results and determine whether the officer had probable cause to arrest.
A number of other field sobriety tests are widely used by police, including:
- Finger to nose
- Romberg balance test (stand with feet together, eyes closed)
- Romberg balance test with finger to nose
- Counting backwards from 100
- Hand pat
- Line walk
- Standing heel to toe
- Picking up coins
No hard evidence indicates that individuals who are not intoxicated perform better on any of these tests than those who are. Even so, police continue to use these non-sanctioned field sobriety tests as a basis for administering chemical tests, and the results of these tests often are admissible in court as evidence . The role of a DWI lawyer Albuquerque is to challenge the validity of both the traffic stop and the field sobriety test results.
Contact a Knowledgeable DWI Lawyer Albuquerque Today
A DWI conviction can result in fines, loss of your driver’s license, jail time and other negative consequences. To help ensure the best possible outcome, contact the Khayoumi Law Firm at (505) 333-8613 to speak with a DWI lawyer. Albuquerque residents trust Salim Khayoumi to work tirelessly on their behalf and guard their rights. Call us today or complete the form on this page to reach us by email.