Field Sobriety Testing

At Holder Susan Slusher, LLC, we maintain a critical view of field sobriety tests, which are often required during DWI (driving while intoxicated) stops. We recognize that these tests — whether standardized or not — are inherently flawed. They produce unreliable results and may even be used to deliberately trigger failure. However, it’s crucial to remember that failing a field sobriety test does not guarantee a DWI conviction. There are numerous defenses available, and our experienced DWI lawyers are committed to ensuring that you are not unjustly punished or branded a criminal for life.

Young man touches nose with eyes closed at the request of a police officer during a suspected DWI stop.

Overview of Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are divided into two categories: standardized and non-standardized. The most common standardized tests include:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test: An officer observes the eyes of a driver as they follow a moving object horizontally. Signs of involuntary jerking can indicate impairment.
  • Walk-and-Turn Test: This test assesses the ability to perform tasks requiring divided attention. The driver must walk in a straight line heel-to-toe, turn on one foot, and return in the same manner.
  • One-Leg Stand Test: The driver stands with one foot off the ground and counts aloud until instructed to stop, testing balance and focus.

However, officers may also administer non-standardized tests, which are not endorsed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and are often critiqued for their design, which seems geared towards ensuring failure. These can include:

  • Reciting the alphabet: Forward or in reverse.
  • Counting numbers: Forward or in reverse.
  • Finger-to-nose test: Touching the nose with a finger while eyes are closed.
  • Hand-pat test: Alternating hand movements and counting simultaneously.
  • Counting the number of fingers an officer raises: Testing attention and comprehension.

Legal Implications and Rights in Missouri

Missouri’s implied consent law requires drivers to submit to sobriety tests, but the manner in which these tests are conducted can be contested. The subjective nature of both standardized and non-standardized tests means their results are not definitive proof of intoxication. At Holder Susan Slusher, LLC, our lawyers are adept at challenging the validity of these tests by scrutinizing the conditions under which they were performed and the interpretations of their outcomes.

How Holder Susan Slusher, LLC Can Assist You

Our firm’s profound understanding of DWI law, coupled with extensive experience in handling such cases, enables us to identify procedural inaccuracies and contest unjust evidence effectively. We ensure that every piece of evidence, including police body cam footage, is thoroughly examined to uphold the highest legal standards. Attorney Bogdan Susan specializes in DWI cases and believes all his clients deserve a vigorous defense.

For anyone facing DWI or MIP (minor in possession) charges in Columbia, central Missouri, Mizzou, and the University of Missouri, understanding your rights regarding field sobriety tests is crucial. By enlisting the legal team at Holder Susan Slusher, LLC, you gain access to knowledgeable experts who will explore every possible defense, ensuring that a flawed testing system does not compromise your future. Please reach out online or call 573-499-1700 for a free consultation on your case.

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