Drivers suspected of DUI will generally be told to perform various Field Sobriety Tests so that officers can get an idea of the suspect's apparent level of intoxication. One such test is the Finger-to-Nose Test.Like other Field Sobriety Tests, the Finger-to-Nose Test is designed to be failed.
The officer uses your "failing" performance on a Field Sobriety Test to create probable cause for your arrest on a DUI Charge and to create evidence that he can use in court against you. But a skilled Chicago DUI Defense Lawyer can effectively challenge the results of your Finger-to-Nose Test in court.
You should know that the Finger-to-Nose Test, while commonly relied on by arresting officers, is NOT one of three Field Sobriety Tests that has been standardized for use in sobriety testing by the U.S. NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). When the arresting officer testifies about your "failing" performance on the Finger-to-Nose Test, your experienced Illinois DUI Attorney could attack the validity of the test and get the officer to admit that the test has NOT been validated for sobriety testing by the NHTSA.
Under NHTSA guidelines for the three validated Field Sobriety Tests, critical factors in determining whether your test performance indicates your intoxication level include whether the test was correctly and consistently administered and explained in accordance with NHTSA guidelines.
Since the Finger-to-Nose Test has NOT been validated by the NHTSA and there are no standardized guidelines for administering the test and evaluating its results, your Chicago DUI Defense Lawyer could create reasonable doubt about your guilt on the DUI Charge. Your lawyer could point out that a valid context for determining whether your test results accurately reflect your alleged intoxication level is nonexistent.
Illinois DUI Attorneys are familiar with the general procedure officers typically use to administer the Finger-to-Nose Test. But since this test is not one of the three Field Sobriety Tests validated by the NHTSA, the actual test procedures and instructions could vary slightly from officer to officer and from test to test. Chicago DUI Defense Lawyers with experience realize that this inconsistency in test administration undermines the potential accuracy of the test results in determining a suspect's intoxication level.
Typically, an officer administering the Finger-to-Nose Test will instruct the suspect to tip the head back with the eyes closed and then touch the left and right index fingers to the nose at random. The officer will watch for several indicators that he believes help him determine whether or not you're intoxicated. The officer looks for an inability to follow the instructions, a lack of depth perception, swaying on your feet, muscle tremors or muscle tightening, and an inability to touch the finger directly to the tip of your nose.
The Finger-to-Nose Test has no objective or validated scoring system. Your test results are entirely based on the officer's subjective opinion of your performance. This lack of accepted, objective criteria for scoring your test performance provides a valid basis for your Chicago DUI Defense Lawyer to challenge the "evidence" of your Finger-to-Nose Test results in court. The subjective Finger-to-Nose Test results carry less weight as evidence in court than the results of the Field Sobriety Tests standardized by the NHTSA.
The test is designed for you to fail. Your Illinois DUI Attorney can help the jury understand just why you "failed" your test. The conditions of your testing are usually stressful, even frightening.Your test might be conducted by the side of a heavily trafficked highway or roadway in close proximity to fast-moving traffic that could easily run you down.
You're already under stress and nervous just from being stopped unexpectedly by the officer. As with other Field Sobriety Tests, you're expected to perform the test's strange roadside gymnastics outside, at night,in public view, and with a police flashlight and patrol car lights probably shining in your eyes and disorienting you. The weather might be poor or windy and the temperature unpleasant.
The officer that pulled you over might have been trained on this Field Sobriety Test. He might have practiced it dozens of times in a comfortable, well-lighted training facility. You, on the other hand, have just one chance to take the test. And you're facing the prospect of arrest if you"fail." With thoughtful cross-examination of the officer by your Chicago DUI Defense Lawyer, the jury might be brought to understand how you were basically set up to fail the test by the stress of the situation and the unfavorable testing conditions.
In addition, your performance on your roadside gymnastics Field Sobriety Test could be affected by many other factors that have nothing to do with a person's level of intoxication. In addition to stress and unfavorable testing conditions, fatigue, illness, a medical or physical condition, high heels, the road surface, and the officer's own abilities to communicate effectively and simultaneously evaluate your performance while also administering the test could impact the accuracy of your test results.
Experienced Chicago DUI Defense Lawyers like Michael Schmiege know that the Finger-to-Nose Test, like other Field Sobriety Tests, is fallible. Although law enforcement officers are trained to rely on such tests as valid and "scientific" measures of your blood alcohol level, the tests are subject to many errors both in administration and interpretation.
The officers themselves upon cross-examination by Mr.Schmiege should acknowledge that the results of the standardized NHTSA tests are only valid when the test was administered correctly in accordance with theNHTSA's guidance. Further questioning by your skilled Chicago DUI Defense Lawyer Mr. Schmiege should elicit the admission that the Finger-to-Nose Test does not even benefit from accepted NHTSA standardization. Therefore one could conclude that there is no solid basis for determining that the test results were valid.
Officers are trained to realize that Field Sobriety Tests are not necessarily appropriate examinations of intoxication for senior citizens, people more than 50 pounds overweight, and people with certain medical conditions, among other groups. If you had a medical condition that would affect your test performance and the officer did not even question you to determine that before administering your test, your Illinois DUI Attorney could elicit information revealing that lapse in court to create a reasonable doubt about your guilt in relation to the DUI Charge.
The prosecution must prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt n order to convict you on a DUI Charge. The subjective nature of the Finger-to-Nose Test as well as the difficulty of your testing conditions provide plenty of basis for Illinois DUI Attorney Michael P. Schmiege to create reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury members.
Contact experienced Chicago DUI Defense Lawyer Michael P. Schmiege for a free case evaluation consultation. Michael Schmiege understands the stress you're under when you're pulled over to face a daunting roadside Field Sobriety Test. He has solid, practical trial experience creating reasonable doubt about the DUI Charges of other clients who faced situations like yours.
Michael Schmiege could review the specific facts of your case with you in your private legal consultation to help you understand where the weaknesses are in the prosecution's case against you. He could counsel you regarding your best chances for beating the DUI Charge. Let Illinois DUI Attorney Michael P. Schmiege help you beat your DUI Charge. Call today for your free consultation. (312) 906-7800
NOT GUILTY – Possession of a Controlled Substance w/ Intent to Deliver
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol – NOT GUILTY
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