Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are administered or offered in almost every case of driving while intoxicated so long as the suspect appears physically capable to the investigating officer.  The tests serve two purposes.  First, the officer will use the tests to make the initial determination whether a suspect should be investigated further and whether the suspect should be arrested for driving while intoxicated.  Second, the suspects performance on the field sobriety tests will be used at trial by the prosecutor in order to support a finding of guilt.

There are many ways to challenge the field sobriety tests.  First, many of the tests were developed under standardized laboratory conditions.  There is a great difference between a well lit office space and the side of the road with cars speeding past and the blinding emergency lights of a police car.  Second, there are typically a good number of ‘indicators’ of intoxication that an officer is looking for in each tests.  If the officer does not testify or make a note that a suspect did not perform a certain part of the test correctly, it is a safe bet that the suspect did that part of the test perfectly.  An experienced attorney can effectively bring this type of information out a trial to raise doubts as to the efficacy of the field sobriety tests.

There are a number field sobriety tests that officer in the Northern Virginia area typically administer to suspected drunk drivers.  Some of those tests are:

  1. The One-Leg Stand Test
  2. The Walk and Turn Test
  3. The Finger Dexterity Test
  4. The Alphabet Test
  5. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test

The attorneys are Henson Pachuta, PLLC are experienced with DUI defense and offer free consultations.  With information about the details of your case, we can help to explain the challenges you can make to the field sobriety tests.  Contact us by phone at 703-822-4701 or come to our office at 4011 Chain Bridge Road, Suite 200, Fairfax, Virginia 22030.

Why do we offer free consultations?

When you have been charged with a crime, it is one of the most stressful moments of your life.  Most people are just not sure what to expect and what steps they should take.  In one conversation we can usually determine what the likely outcomes of your case are what you can do today to get the best outcome possible.

We got into this line of work because we wanted to help people.  If we don’t think you need a lawyer, we will tell you so.  We hope that you will still find our consultation helpful and will consider passing our name along to friends or family who find themselves facing a criminal or traffic charge in Northern Virginia some day.

If we do think you would benefit from having a lawyer, we will tell you so.  We can tell you about our particular qualifications and experience, and we hope that you will choose us as your lawyers for your case.