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Challenging a Field Sobriety Test In Colorado

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Posted By McAdams Law | December 20 2023 | Drunk Driving

A Colorado DUI has an adverse impact on life, and the tests used to gauge a driver’s impairment level are not flawless. Challenging these tests is necessary and possible. Field sobriety tests (FST) can be influenced by various factors that should be thoroughly explored to present a formidable defense in a Colorado DUI arrest.

The Officer’s Interpretation

How a person performs during a field sobriety test is a matter of subjectivity that is easily influenced and varies from officer to officer and for each driver. These tests lack the scientific data of other sobriety tests, which are still imperfect. Two officers can have completely different interpretations of a single performance based on personal bias and outlook.

Lack of Probable Cause

A legitimate reason should exist for stopping and administering an FST. Your right to arbitrary searches and seizures is protected under the Fourth Amendment. Without probable cause and legal search procedures, a field sobriety test and any collected evidence should be inadmissible in court.

Test Training and Administration

Without proper training, standardized testing procedures may not be followed, lending doubt to the credibility of the FST results. A DUI defense attorney in Colorado will review the officer’s training to ensure it meets the standards. Without standardization, a test is unreliable.

Health Factors

Something as simple as an earache can disturb your balance, making it impossible to complete an FST successfully. Any influence on a person’s health can get in the way of passing a field sobriety test. A few of those influences include:

  • Arthritis
  • Poor vision
  • Injured back, legs, or knees
  • Hearing impairment

A person’s health may compromise the movement required in a field sobriety test. When medical evidence supports a person’s inability to perform an FST, the test’s reliability can be challenged.

Taking a field sobriety test in the middle of winter in Colorado is nothing short of challenging, and a windy day in Colorado can send a driver off balance during a FST. These tests lack continuity, allowing for the influence of subjectivity.

Environmental Challenges

Colorado has a diverse landscape and environment. Uneven terrain, wintery conditions, rain, and wind influence an FST. Many of these tests are performed on road shoulders on busy roadways where the amount of traffic can disrupt concentration.

Because this test plays a prominent role in enforcing DUI laws, the results should be free of extraneous influences. It may be that a driver’s clothing was ill-fitted to perform an FST that day. The type of shoes a driver is wearing can be a strong determinant in their ability to complete tests that require an individual to perform a one-leg stand test.

Expert Witness Testimony

Expert witnesses relate the factors of a test and its outcome in a manner that allows jury members a complete understanding of the circumstances. Their experience in explaining challenging topics paints a complete picture for jurors, making their testimony priceless, often changing the course of a trial.

Work With a Colorado DUI Attorney to Challenge Field Sobriety Tests

Multiple factors can challenge the credibility of a field sobriety test. These weaknesses and inconsistencies in testing can cast doubt on their accuracy, helping to lessen or alleviate the charges against a driver.

McAdams Law Office works relentlessly to protect your rights against inaccuracies in field sobriety testing to ensure a more favorable outcome. Schedule a free consultation to allow us to begin advocating for you.

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