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Austin law enforcement agents administer a series of field sobriety tests to gauge whether or not a driver is under the influence of alcohol. Three tests are typically administered: the one-leg stand test, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, and the one-leg stand test. If a driver fails these tests, probable cause exists to make a driving while intoxicated (DWI) test.
Field Sobriety Tests are Not an Exact Science
Unlike a breathalyzer test, the results of a field sobriety test are entirely subjective and lack the criteria necessary to be deemed reliable by the scientific community. This means that even if you fail these tests, a number of Austin field sobriety defenses can be used to your advantages.
The walk-and-turn and one-leg stand test fall into the “divided attention” category. During these tests, the officer will watch to make sure the driver correctly follows directions and is able to physically perform the test. If the officer observes a certain number of clues, the driver is said to fail the test.
These divided attention tests may be difficult for people who are over the age of 65, who are more than 50 pounds overweight, or who have physical limitations. Other factors, such as flashing police lights and passing vehicles, could also prove to be a distraction when performing these tests. The officer should make sure the ground is dry, level, and hard before administering the walk-and-turn and the one-leg stand test. A DWI attorney can investigate the circumstances under which the test was administered and performed in order to question the results of your test.
The HGN Test
The horizontal gaze nystagmus test measures the nystagmus, or jerking, in your eyes. This jerking may become more pronounced after a person consumes alcohol. The problem with this test is that there are many other medical and physical conditions, such as brain tumors or eye ailments, which could cause a person to fail this test.
Our attorneys have received training on the Austin field sobriety tests. With our knowledge of which field sobriety test defenses are the most successful, we have an impressive track record of having charges reduced or even dropped.