Field Sobriety Test Defense

Delaware Field Sobriety Tests Accuracy

Law Office signThe National Highway Safety Administration (NHSTA) developed the current Field Sobriety Tests many years ago. They were developed as a means and method of determining someone’s level of intoxication by police at the time someone is pulled over and suspected of DUI.

Police officers are trained to look for ‘clues’ or scoring factors that can theoretically establish whether or not someone is intoxicated.

If you have been pulled over and arrested for DUI in Kent County or Sussex County Delaware you should absolutely speak with a Georgetown Delaware DUI Attorney. Call the Lw Offices of Murray, Phillips & Gay at 302-855-9300. Or, email us here.

Current Delaware Field Sobriety Tests

In Delaware, there are 3 Field Sobriety Tests (FST) used to gauge how buzzed, drunk or intoxicated someone is. They are:

1. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN Test)

The eyeball jerks involuntary as it naturally rotates in its socket. This physiological function is called the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. A person who is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol has the ability to follow a moving object smoothly. If a person is sober the eyeball will not repeatedly stop and start.

When someone is intoxicated due to alcohol consumption nystagmus is much more pronounced and exaggerated. This results in a jerking motion as the eyes rotate. When conducting the test the police officer has the person follow an object with their eyes, normally a pen or flashlight. There are 3 criteria the officer is trained to look for in this test.

If once the test is completed, you demonstrate 4 or more ‘clues’ then you allegedly have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of at least .10 which is above the legal limit.

2. Walk And Turn Test

The walk and turn test involves the suspect taking 9 heel to toe steps in a straight line. At the end of the 9th step, you are to turn on one foot and return by taking 9 more heel to toe steps. There are 8 possible ‘clues’ regarding your level of intoxication. If you demonstrate 2 or more you are allegedly intoxicated and can be arrested for DUI in Delaware.

3. One Leg Stand Test

The one leg stand test mandates that you stand with one foot at least 6 inches off the ground and count by thousands i.e. one one thousand, two one thousand, etc. This continues until you are instructed to put down your foot. 30 seconds is the standard amount of time you stand on one foot. There are 4 accepted intoxication indicators in this test: swaying, using arms to balance, hopping and putting the foot down before being told to do so.

Delaware DUI Defense And Field Sobriety Test Flaws

Despite these three tests potentially indicating that you are intoxicated, they are not always accurate. There are many reasons why a person cannot pass the field sobriety tests when sober. These reasons could have to do with physical disabilities, taking prescribed medication and being older.

Also, if your DUI case goes to trial the FST results become even more important. Often times the police officers did not properly administer the FST’s. They may have used incorrect or inappropriate scoring criteria or were improperly trained regarding how to administer the tests. Having a Sussex County DUI Attorney on your side will address these possible FST flaws and help you get the best possible outcome regarding your DUI case.

Contact Skilled Delaware DUI Attorney

Retaining a Delaware DUI Lawyer makes sense regarding your DUI case. We will make sure your rights are protected every step of the way. Call Delaware DUI Defense Attorneys Ms. Murray and Mr. Phillips at 302-855-9300. You can also email us by clicking here.

With over 20 years serving those accused of drunk driving in Delaware, we will tenaciously defend your rights while attempting to keep the negative consequences of your pending drunk driving charges to a minimum.


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