How Might a DWI Defense Attorney Challenge Field Sobriety Test Results?
If you’re facing DWI charges, it’s natural to fret about the outcome of your case—and the repercussions it could have on various aspects of your life. Fortunately, a conviction isn’t necessarily imminent. With the right defense strategy, it may be possible to secure lesser charges with reduced penalties—or to get the case dropped altogether.
DWI defense attorneys know how to contest evidence against their clients. If you failed any field sobriety tests (FSTs) during the traffic stop, for example, your lawyer might challenge the legitimacy of their results on the grounds of:
1. A Medical Condition
If you have a medical condition that inhibits balance, coordination, or mobility, you may be unable to perform the walk and turn (WAT) or one leg stand (OLS) test. Examples of such conditions include vertigo, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and low blood pressure.
There also happen to be a number of medications—both over-the-counter and prescription—that can cause dizziness or other balance problems. If you took a safe dose of antihistamines, antidepressants, or antiseizure drugs several hours prior to getting behind the wheel, for example, that may contribute to your defense.
2. A Physical Disability
Both acute injuries and permanent trauma can make it impossible to pass field sobriety tests. If you have any physical disabilities, your legal team may be able to use medical records and testimony from relevant experts to demonstrate how your condition hindered your performance during the traffic stop.
3. A Skewed Analysis
Unlike breathalyzer tests, which provide quantifiable results when administered correctly, field sobriety tests are entirely subjective. That means whether a motorist passes or fails is ultimately up to the officer’s discretion.
This is problematic because police are inherently biased when conducting DWI stops. When an officer pulls over a motorist for signs of drunk driving, he or she inevitably begins the interaction with the assumption that the suspect is indeed impaired. This, in turn, could make the officer inclined to conclude that the motorist’s performance during the FSTs is confirmation of impairment, perhaps even when the performance did not warrant such a conclusion.
4. An Environmental Condition
Everything from the weather to the ambient lighting could influence a motorist’s performance during field sobriety tests. You could trip over a pothole, for example, when performing the walk and turn test, or you could struggle to keep your eyes open during the horizontal gaze nystagmus test because of whipping winds.
Since environmental conditions could end up contributing to your defense, write down everything you can remember about the traffic stop in question as soon as possible. No detail is too small to include.
Speak with a New York DWI Defense Lawyer Today
If you were charged with DWI, turn to attorney Jack M. Sanchez at LoTempio P.C. Law Group for help building your defense. A tireless advocate for those who find themselves on the wrong side of the law, attorney Sanchez has the resources and experience to help clients pursue the most favorable outcome possible given the circumstances. Call 716-855-3761 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney in New York.