Douglas W. Atkinson Articles Field Sobriety Tests

Field Sobriety Tests

By Doug Atkinson  Sep. 17, 2010 9:42a

If you have been pulled over for a suspected DWI, (driving while intoxicated) you were most likely asked to perform one or more FSTS (Field Sobriety Tests) or SFSTS (Standardized Field Sobriety Tests). The results from these two types of tests can be used to dictate whether you will be arrested for DWI or not. An experienced DWI attorney will know the correct questions to ask the arresting officer in order to defend you, as sometimes the tests are not standardly or correctly administered.

The more general FSTS are not considered as accurate as the standardized ones but still can be used as evidence of intoxication in a DWI case. They include such tests as hand clapping, having you touch your finger to your nose, counting backwards, reciting the alphabet and others. These tests can also be used if a person does not qualify for one of the three standardized Field Sobriety Tests.

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

There are three main standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTS) that are commonly used to determine if a person is intoxicated. These are the: Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), (this is a test involving the involuntary jerking of the eye when a person is intoxicated), Walk and Turn (WAT), and the One Leg Stand (OLS).  These tests were funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation to help law enforcement officials in the arrest and prosecution of those charged with DWI.

The standardized tests have specific instructions when administered and are graded on a specific set of clues. In other words, the officer administering the tests will be looking for specific clues to determine if a person is intoxicated or driving impaired. If the person manifests a certain number of these clues, he can then be arrested for DWI. Again, an experienced DWI attorney will know where these tests can fall short or be improperly administered which can aid in your defense and help you avoid a conviction.

What to Expect if Convicted

If you are convicted of DWI, your driver's license is automatically suspended and you will be notified that you have to attend a hearing in relation to this. Additionally, you could face time in jail, be fined, have increased insurance rates, be denied jobs in the future as DWI is a criminal offense and additional penalties may also apply.

If you have been charged with DWI in the Montgomery or surrounding areas, you need to contact the law office of Doug Atkinson. We have successfully defended hundreds of clients charged with DWI including many cases that were considered complex and difficult to win. Mr. Atkinson operates with an aggressive viewpoint and a focuses on winning each case. His experience and success gives him the track record you would want to have in hiring someone to defend you.  Since 1998 Doug has placed his focus on criminal defense law and specifically DWI. This gives him the advantage of gaining strong expertise in the area and then passing this on to his clients' advantage.

If you are in need of defense for a DWI charge, contact a Montgomery County DWI Lawyer at our office for a free consultation and we will help you determine what is the best course of action to avoid a DWI conviction.

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