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Roadside Sobriety Tests


The Facts About Roadside Testing

If you have been pulled over by the police and asked to perform roadside sobriety tests like balancing, walking the line or touching your nose blindly, you know that these tests are very difficult, regardless of whether you have been drinking. You might not know, however, that you do have a choice. These tests are completely voluntary.

There are many other aspects of DUI defense in general and roadside tests in particular that you might not know about. Most people who come to our office for DUI defense are experiencing the criminal law system for the first time. Fort Collins roadside sobriety tests attorney Leah Bishop has a thorough understanding of all of these aspects of a DUI defense case. We can defend you against these charges and walk you through every step of the complicated process.

What You Need to Know About DUI Roadside Tests

The officer who stops someone needs enough information to arrest you. The standard is probable cause, which is a reasonable, articulable suspicion that you are committing a crime. Even if you should pass all of these tests, factors like bloodshot or watery eyes, slurred speech, smell of alcohol on your breath and trouble balancing could all lead to a valid arrest.

Some of the standardized field sobriety tests include:

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus
  • Walk and turn
  • Finger to nose
  • One leg stand
  • Rhomberg balancing test

Alcohol May Not Be The Reason for Failed Roadside Tests

The technical name for roadside tests is “standard field sobriety tests.” This is a very official sounding name that makes these tests seem mandatory when an officer asks you to perform them. The fact is, however, roadside sobriety tests are voluntary. Do not perform these tests if you are stopped for DUI. There is a good chance these tests could hurt you, and very little chance that they will help you in any way.

When you perform the tests, the officer will have a checklist to establish probable cause. There are many factors, however, that tend towards failing these tests that have nothing to do with alcohol consumption:

  • Personal factors: A myriad of health issues like diabetes, other medical conditions, poor eyesight and age can hinder a person’s focus or balance and result in failure of the tests.
  • Environmental factors: Ice, wind, rain, the tests being administered on a hill or busy roadway, and even the shoes that the driver is wearing can all skew the results of the tests.
  • Factors coming from the tests themselves: Most of these tests are inherently difficult regardless of whether or not you have been drinking.

At Leah Bishop, L.L.C., we start each case by talking to the client and getting as much information as possible. Only an experienced DUI defense attorney will know all of the regulations that the police need to follow when conducting voluntary roadside tests subsequent to a DUI stop, and all the other ways that an officer can err in a DUI stop and arrest.

Contact a Colorado Field Sobriety Tests Attorney ∙ Free Consultations

For a free consultation with a lawyer call our office at 970-224-5555.

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