Field Sobriety Test Defense

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Delaware Field Sobriety Test Accuracy

The National Highway Safety Administration (NHSTA) developed the current Field Sobriety Test 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 throughout the field sobriety test 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 Law Offices of Murray, Phillips & Gay at 302-855-9300. Or, email us here.

Current Delaware Field Sobriety Tests

In Delaware, 3 Field Sobriety Tests (FST) legally permitted to gauge how buzzed, drunk or intoxicated a person is.

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. A sober person’s eyeball will not repeatedly stop and start.

When 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. The officer looks for 3 criteria of intoxication in this test. 

After the test, if you demonstrate 4 or more ‘clues’ then you allegedly have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of at least .10. 

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. However, if you demonstrate 2 or more ‘clues,’ the officer may assume intoxication and arrest you 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 until the officer instructs you to put down your foot. The standard amount of time you stand on one foot is 30 seconds. The officers look for 4 accepted intoxication indicators in this test: swaying, using arms to balance, hopping and putting the foot down before the time ends. 

Delaware Dui Defense And Field Sobriety Test Flaws

Despite these three tests potentially indicating intoxication, 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 old age.

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. For example, they may use incorrect or inappropriate scoring criteria. Your lawyer will also ensure that the state properly trained the officer administering the test. Having a Sussex County DUI Attorney on your side will address these possible FST flaws. We aim to 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 protect your rights 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 defend your rights. We want to keep the negative consequences of your pending drunk driving charges to a minimum. However, our lawyers cannot guarantee any particular outcome. 

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