Law Office of Ronald A. Cabanayan
Law Office of
Ronald A. Cabanayan

DUI ~ Criminal Defense ~ Immigration/Naturalization

Justice Is On Your Side

2 times you can challenge the results of field sobriety tests

On Behalf of | Oct 13, 2022 | DUI Defense

Field sobriety tests play an important role in many California driving under the influence (DUI) cases. Police officers who think someone has had too much to drink could ask that driver to perform field sobriety tests to justify later requesting a chemical breath test. The performance of a driver on field sobriety tests can play become an important part of the evidence against them in criminal court.

There are three standardized field sobriety tests that officers typically perform, although they may engage in other testing as well when trying to determine if someone is under the influence of mind-altering drugs or alcohol.

Sometimes, drivers can challenge the results of field sobriety tests and keep those tests out of their court proceedings. When would such a strategy be an option for someone facing a DUI charge?

When they have a valid explanation for their test performance

Officers see signs of intoxication because that is what they expect to find, and they might dismiss you when you try to explain a perfectly reasonable medical cause for how you stumbled during the test.

Maybe you have serious anxiety or other mental health issues that lead to physical reactions when you must interact with those in a position of authority. Perhaps you have a neurological condition that affects your balance. There are numerous possible explanations for poor performance on a field sobriety test that could reduce how much impact the results of those tests will have during a criminal trial.

When the officer made a mistake

An officer’s claims about your performance on field sobriety tests won’t be enough on their own to convict you. They have to show that they adhered to best practices while administering the tests.

Perhaps the police officer performing the test deviated from best practices and performed unusual tests. Maybe they failed to have you perform the test at a location captured by their vehicle or body cameras. If there were mistakes during the test administration or if there is no video footage of your performance on the test, then you may be in a position to ask the courts to exclude information about the field sobriety test from your trial.

Considering different strategies, like challenging evidence or providing an explanation for it, can help you mount a successful defense against pending DUI charges.