Sobriety Tests Under Fire

Posted on May 15, 2014

Sobriety Tests Under Fire

During your representation, a Redwood City DUI law firm will have an attorney discuss the various defenses that you may be able to raise during your case. One of these defenses may be that the field sobriety test was not accurate. New Report Supports this Defense The Department of Transportation released a report entitled “Improved Sobriety Testing.” In this report, the department says that a combination of walk and turn, one-leg stand and horizontal gaze nystagmus provides law enforcement officials with firm data that they need to base their decision about an arrest. This implies that other forms of testing do not provide this same firm data that officers need to make a valid arrest decision. Other Tests Besides those tests cited by the Department of Transportation above, law enforcement officers may use different types of tests. For example, law enforcement officers might ask potential defendants to say the alphabet, say the alphabet backwards, pronounce certain terms or write statements. However, these different tests may not indicate any specific level of sobriety. Performing poorly on the alphabet recitation test might indicate that a person is not familiar with the English language, is illiterate or has poor pronunciation. Individuals may perform poorly on a handwriting test because they suffer from a medical condition like arthritis, anxiety or poor penmanship. At the minimum, one academic study has reached the conclusion that a handwriting test does not accurately measure a person’s potential drunkenness. The typical report form that law enforcement officers use requests that the officer who conducts the test obtain a sample of the defendant’s handwriting. This sample might be utilized to indicate that the defendant’s writing is sloppy, hard to read or illegible. The prosecutor can continue this line of logic by putting it on as evidence to show that the defendant was having difficulty controlling fine motor skills, insinuating that alcohol was having an effect on the defendant. However, a Redwood City DUI law firm may be able to rebut this accusation by showing a sample of your typical writing for comparison. If you would like a Redwood City DUI attorney to assist you with your case, contact Silveira Law at (415) 795-3890.