One of the ways police officers screen for DUI is to administer physical tests called the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs). These are a series of three tests:
- The one leg stand – in which the driver is instructed to stand steadily on one leg
- The walk in turn – in which the driver is supposed to walk a straight line, turn and walk a straight line again
- The horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) – in which the driver is instructed to follow the finger of the officer with their eyes
The officers then observe whether a person stumbles or is jittery during these tests. However, these are not normal everyday tasks. No one ever practices standing on one leg. So if someone stumbles trying to stand on one leg, does that mean the person is drunk?
Consider these scenarios:
- Someone who has medical issues with their knee or back
- Someone who is obese
- A woman wearing high heels
- Someone who is naturally clumsy
- Someone who is scared of the police officer and extremely nervous
In these common scenarios, you may have a person who cannot complete these physical tests accurately but are certainly not drunk.
Unfortunately, the observations made in these roadside tests are often presented by the officer as proof of your impairment. These officers are usually biased. They pulled you over because they thought you were drunk and will give statements and written reports to back that claim. A good lawyer will argue that the observations the office made were not the result of alcohol impairment, but in fact had another explanation.
If you were recently arrested for a DUI and had to perform the SFSTs, please call us now at 412-471-5000. Attorney Mike Sherman and his team know the limitations of these tests and will work to challenge the evidence in your case. The consultation is free, so you have nothing to lose.