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Was Your DUI Field Sobriety Test Legal?

Posted on in DUI Defense

Illinois DUI lawyer, Illinois defense attorneyDrivers who have had a few too many drinks before getting on the road pose a risk to themselves and others. Logically, police want to protect the community while also doing their job so they can provide for their families. In many cases, the field sobriety tests given at a stop are conducted illegally, regardless of intention. If the officer failed to adhere to the law and structure required to make a DUI stop or arrest, the integrity of the test becomes questionable. It is increasingly common for officers to wear or utilize video recording devices for a stop. This video evidence becomes useful in court.

Traditional FST Methodologies Are Inaccurate

Most of the commonly conducted field sobriety tests have been around for years, or decades. They say that if something is not broken, do not fix it. However, just because something is common practice does not make it right, either. The intention of the examinations is to determine impairment of psychomotor and cognitive functions. The theory is that if the individual is unable to follow directions and pay attention, they were not logically able to do so in a car. The three most frequent examinations are the “walk and turn,” the “one-legged stand,” and the "horizontal gaze nystagmus.” If any of the tests show any mistakes, notes claiming impairment go into the report. The pitfall of these tests is the situation in which the test is administered is not under normal circumstances. The surroundings and the experience cause adverse negative reactions, which also slow motor functions. The following factors have nothing to do with intoxication but can affect the results:

  • Emotional duress from the arrest,
  • Flashing police car lights,
  • Equilibrium difficulties,
  • Sleep deprivation,
  • Proximity to traffic,
  • Joint injuries, and
  • Ambient noises from the adjacent traffic.

Determining If Your Examination Is Admissible

The only iron clad methodology to prove the test was incorrectly administered requires an attorney ordering a copy of the police recording. Even with the video available, a close-up of the eye reaction to the light is not always visible. However, having the recording available enables an experienced lawyer to examine the testing procedure for inaccuracies. If you would like to discuss your DUI stop with a proven DuPage County, IL DUI defense attorney, McMahon Law Offices is here to help. Call us today to schedule your free and confidential initial consultation by calling 630-953-4400 today.





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