Building Strong Defenses For Field Sobriety Tests

Failing a field sobriety test can feel like a major loss. However, there are numerous reasons why you might have failed a test — none of them related to alcohol consumption.

At Mario F. Riquelme & L. Todd Wilson Partners At Elliott, Riquelme & Wilson LLP, in Bend, our attorneys have decades of combined experience finding innovative solutions to challenging failed roadside tests.

When Do Field Sobriety Tests Matter?

Although the majority of arrests for DUII (driving under the influence of intoxicants) in Oregon involve alcohol use, an increasing number are based on alleged drug impairment. Roadside field sobriety tests play a big part in both types. Police accounts of your performance in these tests may be especially critical if:

  • You have been charged with DUII — sometimes called DUI or DWI — for alcohol impairment although your blood alcohol content registered less than .08 percent
  • Your charge is based on alleged drug intoxication — often supported by the testimony of a certified drug recognition expert (DRE)

Vigorously Challenging Roadside Tests

Working with a lawyer who will thoroughly analyze police reports and challenge field sobriety test procedures and reported results can be the key to avoiding a DUII conviction under certain circumstances. Our DUI defense attorneys know what to look for and how to attack problems with the conclusions drawn from all three standard tests:

  • The horizontal nystagmus test, in which you were instructed to follow a penlight held by the officer to check whether your eye movements indicate possible intoxication
  • The walk and turn test, requiring a heel-to-toe walk along a line and then return to assess both your balance and ability to follow instructions
  • The one-leg stand test, in which you were told to stand with one foot raised and count until instructed to stop

We know from extensive experience that officers cite the same evidence of failures of these DUI field sobriety tests over and over. We stay abreast of current research on the reliability of these tests — all of which have a wide margin of error and can be influenced by many factors other than alcohol or drug use.

Analyzing All Circumstances And Pursuing The Best DUI Defense For You

Although field sobriety test results are "scientific evidence" under Oregon law, they can be and have been successfully proven unreliable. We will look at all circumstances in order to identify the best available defense. We have attained not-guilty verdicts and diversion for numerous clients charged with DUII.

Learn More In An Initial Consultation

A DUI conviction has serious, sometimes devastating consequences. To work with a Central Oregon lawyer who will explore every possible angle of defense in your specific case, call us at 541-385-0144 or 800-513-6073, or contact us online.