Field Sobriety Test

Listen to Richard C. McConathy as he discusses defending against DWI charges related to field sobriety tests in Dallas County.

DWI Field Sobriety Test defense attorney in Dallas, TX

Transcript
Standardized field sobriety tests; this is what you usually see when you’re driving by and a guy is doing a balancing act on the side of the road in front of the car. What are these things and where did they come from? Well, back in the day when DWI was first starting to be prosecuted, prosecutors across the united states got together and said “we need a standard form of testing that would should be able to prosecute a person. So, the national highway safety traffic administration printed a study in 1970’s where they came up with the 3 tests: the horizontal gaze and the Nystagmus test, which is the eye test, the walk and turn, which is you walk a line, and then the one leg stand where you stand on one foot for thirty seconds. They said that with this standardized test, we can come back and determine that an individual, whether or not they’re intoxicated, by ninety percent. Now, the funny thing about that study was it was conducted by their own scientist with no outside influences and nobody else to object the situation. This test was designed for a fictional twenty-one-year-old male who is in perfect physical health who probably just came out of the united states military. Unfortunately, most of the citizens in the United states have back problems, knee problems, balance problems, and if they’re taking any type of medication, equilibrium problems. So, the question comes down to us as defense lawyers is to present to the jury “is this actually a fair test? and does this actually equal ninety percent?”. When an officer is making a determination to conduct a field sobriety test on you, the united states supreme court is giving them a very low bar to cross. As long as he has one traffic violation and then walking up has one alcohol suspicion, that’s alcohol on your breath, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or look wobbly. He doesn’t have to have all of them, just one. He can then proceed with a field sobriety test. If you decide to refuse to take this test, the officer can take that into account and determine that right now your hiding evidence from him, and he can proceed to arrest you right there on sight. And that is why it’s important you have someone who has experience in that county and this office, myself and my staff attorneys, have been doing it since 2002.

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