A Redwood City DUI Defense Lawyer Attacks Field Sobriety Tests

Posted on March 20, 2014

Field Sobriety Test

There are a number of bases on which your Redwood City DUI defense attorney can undermine the usefulness of field tests at your trial.

Effect of One Challenge on Other Tests

More than one field sobriety test may be challenged in a single attack by your attorney as he or she conducts cross-examination of the police officer who administered the tests. Although your attorney may not mention it openly, by bringing out a weakness in one test, he or she may impeach the effectiveness or administration of another. As cross-examination ensues, the jurors are in a position to make the connection and draw the appropriate conclusions on their own. This can be a more effective technique than repeatedly issuing the same attack for each of the tests in question.

The Attacks
  • Lack of level surface. If the location at which the defendant is expected to stand on one leg, walk a straight line or submit to the Romberg test is not level, the validity of the test can be questioned. Since these tests are usually given on the shoulder of the road and these are often sloped or, in some places, crowned, all three tests are affected;
  • No basis for comparison. Unless the officer can gauge your performance while sober, he cannot be certain of how it differs when alcohol is a factor. You could have an inner-ear issue that affects your balance. You might be fatigued or have some other non-alcohol related problem that could explain why you did not perform the test satisfactorily; and
  • Lack of background understanding of the test. Unless the officer is fully conversant with the actions required by the tests and the reasoning behind them, your attorney may challenge the prosecution’s assertions that the officer is an expert. Under the Romberg test, for example, the subject is asked to tilt his head back and close his eyes. Police officers understand that they are required to do this. Few understand exactly why, which gives your attorney an advantage.
Call for Help Now

If you are facing DUI charges, be sure to engage the services of an experienced, qualified and skilled Redwood City DUI defense lawyer. Call Silveira Law at (415) 795-3890 and get help now.

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