DUI lawyer in Denver, Colorado discusses the reliability of field sobriety tests

Denver, CO- If you are pulled over for suspicion of drunk or drugged driving, an officer needs proof of intoxication to charge you. To get the evidence they need, an officer is going to you to participate in the field sobriety tests. This article will explore that accuracy of field sobriety tests in DWAI/DUI stops in Denver.

Do I agree to field sobriety tests?

It is hard to give you a “yes” or “no” answer to that question because the answer depends on so many variables such as a medical condition or your level of drunkenness. Colorado has an implied consent law which states that all motorist must agree to participate in field sobriety tests, breathalyzers, and chemical tests when asked. Refusing these tests will result in immediate suspension of your driver’s license.

Stages of field sobriety tests and their reliability

The first stage of field sobriety testing includes a physical evaluation. An officer will look how you move, how you talk and the appearance of your eyes. They want to see if your pupils are dilated whether you are capable of standing, so they will pit you through a battery of tests, which we will discuss below with information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus- The horizontal gaze nystagmus is involuntary, causing an intoxicated person’s eye to twitch or jerk while looking to each side or rotating their eyes at high peripheral angles. For this test, officers also look to see if the person suspected of DWAI can follow an object with their eyes. This test is 88 percent accurate, the NHTSA says.

If an officer still suspect you are driving while alcohol impaired or DUI, they will then ask you to participate in divided attention tests. The Walk and Turn and the One Leg Test are simple to a sober person but are extremely difficult for an impaired driver. Such tests divide a suspect’s attention between a physical activity and following an officer’s directions.

The Walk and Turn- For this test, you must take nine steps from heel to toe and then turn on a single foot. You will be asked to repeat the steps over and over. An officer is looking for several signs of impairment like the inability to keep your balance or walk a straight line.

The One-Leg Test- For this test, you will be asked to stand on one leg and do a task such as recite the alphabet or count aloud. The point is to see if you can keep your balance while participating in a cognitive task. The One Leg Stand has 83 percent accuracy, and the Walk and Turn test have a 79 percent accuracy, per the NHTSA.

The final test you must go through is the breath, urine or chemical tests which you can refuse, but there are consequences such as additional charges.

If you are charged with a DUI in Denver, USAttorneys can connect you with a defense lawyer to work on your case. We have an outstanding team of DUI/ DWAI lawyers in Denver who can help you avoid a drunk or drugged driving conviction.