How Reliable is a Field Sobriety Test in Georgia?

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One way that DUI lawyers in Athens, Georgia are able to challenge DUI charges is by contesting the field sobriety test. And, since almost every DUI arrest involves this test, you almost always have the opportunity to challenge the test. This is why it may be in your best interest to take the test rather than refusing it.

Generally speaking, field sobriety tests (FST) are upheld in court. Studies have shown that about 90% of all FST are accurate. So, while your Athens DUI lawyer will try to challenge it, that doesn’t mean it’s always going to work as a defense.

It’s important that you at least understand what a field sobriety test is. If you get pulled over for suspicion of DUI, you’ll have a decision to make. Do you take the test or do you refuse it? A lot of people think that, if they fail this test, they’ll be more likely to be convicted of DUI. However, sometimes, refusing to take the test can be used against you. The fact that the tests are almost always accepted by judges means that an argument that you refused it because they’re unreliable won’t hold much water. Let your Athens DUI lawyer work on preparing your defense. Don’t make their job any harder during your traffic stop.

What Exactly Does a Field Sobriety Test Entail?

If you’ve been pulled over for suspicion of DUI, you know what the field sobriety test is like. Some people get scared to do one even if they haven’t had a drink in years. There’s always that fear that you’ll fail somehow. Maybe you’re nervous. Or perhaps you take a medication that affects your motor skills. It’s very intimidating.

The problem is, most people think they know exactly what is measured by a field sobriety test. You may be surprised when you find out exactly what they’re measuring for. They are looking for a few things, including:

  • They want to see if you can follow an object with your eyes. They’re looking for a couple things. They want to see if you can move your eyes without moving your head. They also want to check to see if you can actually follow the object. If your eyes keep darting back and forth, it could be a sign that you’re intoxicated.
  • Walk heel to toe – This is a very common part of the test. The cop will ask you to walk back and forth, hell to toe. They want to see if you can follow directions. They also want to know if you can walk without stumbling. This is one spot where a lot of drunk drivers fail the test.
  • One leg stand – If you’ve been drinking, you probably won’t be able to stand on one leg for very long. You’ll stagger and possibly fall over.

If you fail any part of the test, you can be arrested and charged with DUI.

Your DUI Attorney in Athens May Not Recommend that You Refuse the Test

Every now and then, a driver suspected of DUI refuses to take the FST. They may know that they will fail it and figure it can only hurt them later on if they take it and don’t do well. However, that’s not necessarily the case.

With all of the research showing that these tests are reliable, it’s not always a good thing to refuse it. Sometimes, even if you don’t perform well on the test, your lawyer will be able to challenge the way the test was given.

Some of the reasons your Athens DUI lawyer may challenge the FST include:

  • The instructions were not clear
  • You were taking a medication that caused you to perform poorly
  • You weren’t under the influence, you were simply tired
  • The weather was inclement and that is the reason you performed poorly

Depending on the facts of your case, your challenge may be successful.

Contact an Experienced DUI Lawyer in Athens Today

It can be very scary to be arrested for DUI. The worst possible cast starts working its way into your mind. This is normal. Knowing what the penalties are, may concern you. Whether or not you are convicted may come down to whether or not you hire a DUI lawyer in Athens, GA.

Your attorney knows whether the prosecutor is willing to reduce the charges. They have probably dealt with them many times in the past. This can give you an advantage compared to representing yourself.