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Attacking One Leg Stand | Chicago DUI Lawyer

Chicago DUI Attorneys realize that the One-Leg Stand Test is one of the more likely Field Sobriety Tests that an officer might administer to a driver pulled over for DUI. The U.S. NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) has issued guidance on how to administer the standard Field Sobriety Tests like the One-Leg Stand Test. The purpose of the NHTSA guidance is to ensure that officers use consistent procedures in giving drivers the tests so that the test results might accurately reflect a driver's level of alcohol impairment.
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Attacking One Leg Stand

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Illinois DUI Defense Lawyer: Attacking Field Sobriety Tests

Chicago DUI Attorneys realize that the One-Leg Stand Test is one of the more likely Field Sobriety Tests that an officer might administer to a driver pulled over for DUI. The U.S. NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) has issued guidance on how to administer the standard Field Sobriety Tests like the One-Leg Stand Test. The purpose of the NHTSA guidance is to ensure that officers use consistent procedures in giving drivers the tests so that the test results might accurately reflect a driver's level of alcohol impairment.

Your Illinois DUI Defense Lawyer Knows that the One-Leg Stand Test Must be Given Correctly by the Arresting Officer

Your One-Leg Stand Test results don't necessarily provide useful evidence about your level of intoxication at the time you took the test if the test was not administered correctly. The officer must give the test correctly. If the test was not administered correctly, your Chicago DUI Attorney has a good basis for attacking your DUI charge. Your Illinois DUI Defense Lawyer could benefit your case by thoroughly Attacking the One-Leg Stand Test on cross-examination of the arresting officer.

Chicago DUI Attorneys know that many officers fail to give the One-Leg Stand Test in the manner prescribed by the NHTSA. These officers might have developed their own slight variations on the test procedures and instructions over time. The NHTSA procedures say that the DUI suspect should hold his or her foot six inches off the ground in a stiff-legged manner. The suspect should also hold their foot parallel to the ground. Then the suspect should be told to count, while standing in that position, until the officer tells the person to stop. Illinois DUI Defense Lawyers understand that the officer is supposed to time the test and keep track of how long the suspect remained standing on one leg and counting.

If the officer that arrested you did not follow these NHTSA procedures, your Chicago DUI Attorney can begin carefully Attacking the One-Leg Stand Test and the particular way in which the test was given to you. For instance, if you were told to count to a specific number, like 15 or 30, this instruction is not actually part of the NHTSA-approved standardized procedure for the test. In addition, the arms and hands are supposed to be held down at your sides during the test, and not held out parallel to the shoulders as some officers instruct.

Your Chicago DUI Attorney's Skillful Cross-Examination of the Officer could Reveal the Weaknesses in the Prosecution's Case against You

If the officer claimed that you "failed" the Field Sobriety Test and then arrested you for DUI, your Illinois DUI Defense Lawyer should carefully question the officer on cross-examination. A clever program of questioning to elicit responses showing the subjective nature of the test results could raise a reasonable doubt about your guilt.

In court, the prosecution must prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in order for you to be convicted for DUI. So if your Chicago DUI Attorney can raise a reasonable doubt about the validity of your One-Leg Stand Test and test results, you could avoid conviction on the DUI charge.

Some questions and answers a solid cross-examination by your Illinois DUI Defense Lawyer on the One-Leg Stand Test might include are:

Q: The defendant did not fall during the test?

A: No, he didn't.

Q: He didn't lose his balance and hop up and down?

A: No.

Q: He didn't grab onto you for support during the exercise?

A: No.

Q: And his hands never touched the ground?

A: No, they didn't.

Q: And he kept counting out loud as instructed and never asked you to pause the test?

A: That is correct.

Q: So all he did was raise his arm from his side a bit on a couple of occasions, and set his foot down once or twice during the exercise. You said the foot wasn't exactly parallel to the ground?

A: Yes.

Q: And you told him to look at his toes on the raised foot during the test?

A: Yes, that's correct.

Q: So he raised his toes up a bit to look at them as you instructed?

A. Yes.

Q: And that's how he failed the test?

 

Your Illinois DUI Defense Lawyer should also point out by careful questioning that the arresting officer had no baseline performance data on how you would normally perform the One-Leg Stand Test. The officer had likely never met you before the day on which he administered the test. He couldn't know how you would normally perform on the test at a different time of day, for instance, or in a different type of shoe. So how could he determine that you were intoxicated from observing that one performance of the test under such stressful conditions?

Chicago DUI Attorneys realize that you might perform the test with completely different degrees of success depending on what type of shoes you were wearing. Performing the test in high heels could be considerably harder than performing it in flats. Performing a One-Leg Stand in dress shoes as opposed to athletic shoes could also make a difference in your performance.

The One-Leg Stand Test is a divided attention test. The test seeks to determine whether you can perform the physical requirements of the test while simultaneously counting out loud as instructed. The test covers your balance, motor skills, coordination, and mental concentration.

Illinois DUI Defense Lawyers caution that other factors than intoxication can easily influence your performance on the test and cause you to "fail." These factors might include the officer's ability to effectively communicate with you, the testing conditions (such as weather or fast-moving traffic in close proximity), illness, fatigue, medical or physical conditions, and stress.

Officers are taught to look for four "clues" indicating alcohol intoxication during the One-Leg Stand Test. These clues are: swaying, hopping, using your arms to balance, or placing your foot back down on the ground during the test. Officers are trained to believe that 65% of suspects that demonstrate two or more of the clues have a blood alcohol content of at least 0.10%. But as pointed out previously, all of the clues could be the result of fatigue, illness, stress, or other factors.

So your Chicago DUI Attorney should carefully question how the officer thinks he can determine your intoxication level from your test results when he has no way of knowing how you might perform the test under other conditions. One of the real weaknesses of Field Sobriety Tests is that performance on the tests naturally varies so much between different types of individuals. All sorts of factors that have nothing to do with intoxication influence the test results. And there is never any baseline performance data on the suspect relating to the test before the officer decides he "failed" the One-Leg Stand Test.

Hire Experienced Chicago DUI Attorney Michael P. Schmiege to Defend You from a DUI Charge based on "Failing" One-Leg Stand Test Results

Don't let your one chance to show your innocence go by. Hire aggressive and effective Illinois DUI Defense Lawyer Michael P. Schmiege to take your case to trial and to cross-examine the officer that arrested you. Michael Schmiege's skilled cross-examination of your arresting officer on how he gave the One-Leg Stand Test and evaluated the test results could make the critical difference in whether or not you're convicted for DUI.

Contact Illinois DUI Defense Lawyer Michael Schmiege today for a free case evaluation consultation. Let him explain your legal options. Michael P. Schmiege's aggressive advocacy could safeguard your rights and provide your key to freedom after a DUI charge based on a poorly administered Field Sobriety Test. (312) 906-7800

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