Atlanta DUI Field Sobriety Tests Defending a Georgia DUI Arrest

Filed Under: Atlanta DUI Roadblocks – Field Sobriety Test

In practically all Atlanta DUI arrests, a Atlanta Police Officer administers a field sobriety test. There are three tests that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has standardized. Basically, these tests have been studied and have shown that they correlate with measuring alcohol intoxication and an individual’s ability to drive. Atlanta DUI Lawyers are here every day to protect your rights.

Georgia Field Sobriety Testing in Georgia Explained:

The standardized tests include the “eye test”, also known as the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN TEST). In this test the officer conducts a series of measurements where the driver is asked to look at a certain stimulus while the officer attempts to determine the presence of a “nystagmus” (jerking movements) of the eyeball. Every individual is not a good candidate for this test as some people have naturally occurring nystagmus along with certain head and eye conditions which can make the test irrelevant.

The second standardized test is what is known as the walk and turn test. This test consists of nine steps (heel to toe) along a straight line, a 180 degree turn, and nine steps back again. Beginning to walk before you are told to or walking in normal stride instead of making heel to toe steps may cause the Atlanta DUI officer to notice “clues” consistent with intoxication. This test is not validated for people who are over-weight or elderly.

The final standardized test used to determine DUI is called the one leg stand. The one leg stand test requires you to stand on only one foot for 30 seconds with your arms by your sides. Like the walk and turn test, this test has never been validated for over-weight people or elderly people, yet the police simply do not care. They have everyone submit to this testing, even when they know some people have no chance to pass the tests.

These tests are challenging for many people under the best of circumstances, much less nervousness and suspected DUI are contributing factors. There are times when Atlanta DUI officers ask drivers to partake in additional non-standardized tests such as saying the alphabet forward or backward or counting to a certain number in their head. Tests such as these have not been validated to prove that they are indicative of a driver under the influence.

Atlanta DUI officers generally have a video camera equipped in their patrol car on the dashboard which often records the driver and officer engaged in field sobriety tests. In many cases these tapes may help the defense, for example if a driver does well on the tests and appears to walk and speak normally on the tape but is still arrested for DUI.

The Howard Law Group team is skilled in dissecting the methods used by officers conducting field sobriety tests. Often times these tests are completed in a manner opposed to the prescribed methods which makes the results invalid. DUI officers may also be careless in administering the tests then still using the results as grounds to arrest someone for DUI. If this has happened to you, call our Georgia DUI law office today to get a free case evaluation.