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Challenging Field Sobriety Tests | Chicago DUI Lawyer

Chicago DUI Trial Attorneys are well aware that the three non-chemical Field Sobriety Tests that have been standardized by the U.S. NHTSA doe DUI for cannot accurately determine your driving impairment. Research scientists have stated that there is not even a single study to validly link the standardized Field Sobriety Tests to the level of your driving impairment.
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Challenging Field Sobriety Tests

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Challenging the Unreliable Field Sobriety Tests 

Chicago DUI Trial Attorneys are well aware that the three non-chemical Field Sobriety Tests that have been standardized by the U.S. NHTSA doe DUI for cannot accurately determine your driving impairment. Research scientists have stated that there is not even a single study to validly link the standardized Field Sobriety Tests to the level of your driving impairment.

The U.S. NHTSA, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and NHTSA-commissioned researchers advise that the standardized Field Sobriety Tests do not provide actual direct indicators of your driving impairment. These agencies and researchers advise that driving a motor vehicle is actually a very complex activity that involves a wide variety of tasks and operator capabilities and it's unlikely that complex human performance, such as that required to safely drive an automobile, can be measured at roadside in a Field Sobriety Test. Your Illinois DUI Defense can use these agencies statements on the issue to help your case.

Chicago DUI Trial Attorneys know that DUI Field Sobriety Tests are Basically Tests of Your Motor Coordination

An able Illinois DUI Defense will point out that DUI Field Sobriety Tests are largely coordination tests. Three of the most common tests are the Walk and Turn Test, the One Leg Stand Test, and the Finger-to-Nose Test. On these tests, the officer that stops you on suspicion of DUI will generally ask you to take one or more of the Field Sobriety Tests. Besides the three tests standardized by the NHTSA, there are also non-standardized tests that vary from location to location.

The officer will generally ask you to take a few Field Sobriety Tests and then will report that you failed each test. The officer will administer the tests at the scene of the location where he or she pulled you over or came to investigate your crash. More often the not, your Chicago DUI Trial Attorney's investigation will find that the lighting and road conditions might be poor, and when you perform the tests you will be under stress from being pulled over or having an accident. 

An experienced Chicago DUI Trial Attorney will caution that if you fail one or more of your Field Sobriety Tests according to the Arresting Officer, then your Illinois DUI Defense lawyer could attempt to create a reasonable doubt about the tests in the minds of the jurors by pointing out the conditions under which the tests were given, the subjective nature of the tests, the inaccuracy of the tests for determining actual blood alcohol level, and the inherent difficulty of some of the tests.

Your Chicago DUI Trial Attorney might carefully cross-examine the Arresting Officer regarding how many of the tests you failed. If your "failed" them all, your Illinois DUI Defense lawyer might ask if the officer was "expecting" you to fail and if that clouded his judgment in subjectively scoring your test. After all, the officer is the only one present to grade your test performance, and if he or she pulled you over, the officer might be already predisposed to see you as DUI.

These careful, subtle questions from your Illinois DUI Defense lawyer point out that Field Sobriety Tests are very subjective measures of person's intoxication level and that the Arresting Officer is likely to read into the test what he wants the results to be. Your Chicago DUI Trial Attorney's cross-examination of the Arresting Officer is particularly significant because it is the first real confrontation between the prosecution and your defense in front of the jury.

At the conclusion of your Chicago DUI Trial Attorney's cross-examination of the Arresting Officer, the jury will already be beginning to decide in the direction of your conviction or acquittal for DUI. Our web page on Dealing with a DUI Officer provides information regarding effective tactics your Illinois DUI Defense lawyer might use in cross-examining the Arresting Officer.

Details Regarding The Tests and Indicators of Intoxication You May Need to Attack

You may have been charged with DUI based upon one or more of the following test results and so-called objective indicators of alcohol intoxication. In the linked web pages, Michael P. Schmiege provides details on how you might effectively fight these test results and indicators in court.

Non-Chemical Field Sobriety Tests are Inherently Unreliable

Your Illinois DUI Defense lawyer well knows that the non-chemical Field Sobriety Tests have inherent accuracy and subjectivity issues that could make the tests you take unreliable or only marginally reliable. Some of these accuracy and reliability issues include:

  • A lack of scientific data to support the reliability of the test.
  • Inherent variability among test takers.
  • Unknown baseline performance levels when sober of the test taker.
  • Medical and alternative reasons for performance.
  • The use of means or averages that may not apply to a particular test taker.
  • Improper administration and evaluation of the test by the Arresting Officer.
  • The use of statistics from one set of data to support similar tests administered in a different manner, such as using NHTSA standardized field sobriety test statistics to evaluate non-standardized Field Sobriety Test results.
     

You Shouldn't go to Jail Based upon Unreliable Test Results. Hire an Experienced Chicago DUI Trial Attorney to Defend You in Court

Jurors often tend to favor the prosecution's point of view in DUI case. It requires a skillful Illinois DUI Defense lawyer knowledgeable about the data regarding Field Sobriety Test reliability to win your case. Your attorney should be experienced in the careful art of cross-examination at trial to be able to point out the weaknesses in the Arresting Officer's scoring of your tests as "failing."

Chicago DUI Trial Attorney Michael P. Schmiege has the experience you need to successful create reasonable doubt about your guilt in the minds of the jurors. Contact Michael Schmiege for a free and confidential case evaluation consultation regarding your DUI charge. His aggressive case investigation and thorough cross-examination of the Arresting Officer in your DUI case could provide your key to freedom. Contact able Illinois DUI Defense lawyer Michael P. Schmiege today and let him outline your legal options and winning case strategies for you.

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