Field Sobriety Tests on Uneven Ground

Officer handcuffing man
One of the most common ways for an officer to write a DUI ticket is by having a driver perform a field sobriety test. There are several kinds of tests, and there are also several circumstances that have an impact on a test result. Field sobriety tests on uneven ground can be cause for concern, because the result may be inaccurate.

Phoenix, AZ attorney James Novak offers effective DUI defense strategies for all types of DUI cases. If you are charged with DUI after having taken a field sobriety test on uneven ground, you should challenge the test results and the underlying charge of DUI.

Three Types of Tests

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines a field sobriety test as a test given to a driver for the purpose of determining if the driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol. The tests are designed to assist an officer in making a call as to whether probable cause exists to make an arrest for DUI.

To establish probable cause by use of a field sobriety test, an officer may request a driver to participate in a horizontal gaze test, in which the driver is required to follow an object with his or her eyes.

Or, the arresting officer may ask a driver to perform the walk and turn test, where the driver walks a certain number of steps and then turns and makes a return walk.

A final type of field sobriety test is the stand on one leg test, where a suspect is asked to raise one leg just off the ground and remain stable while standing on just one leg for a period of time.

There are several ways to challenge a field sobriety test, but it can depend on the type of test given. If the test involves walking and turning or standing on one leg, a good challenge can be that the test was administered on uneven ground. When the ground is not level, many people have difficulty performing these field sobriety tests successfully, regardless of whether they are impaired.

Common Examples of Uneven Ground in Field Sobriety Tests

If you are charged with DUI and want to challenge the testing process or the test results, you should consider the testing environment. Uneven ground can play a role in your ability to take the test, but is not limited to simply an uneven surface.

Other components that contribute to an uneven ground include:

  • Potholes
  • Slippery and muddy roadways, which can exist just after a rain or even if the road is near a grassy area that has just been watered. Some spots in the street may also be more susceptible to water accumulation due to poor drainage, and those conditions can affect a field sobriety test.
  • Chips in the pavement can also create an uneven surface, making it difficult to properly perform a field sobriety test.

Often a field sobriety test is nothing more than a method used to create the minimum doubt required for probable cause for an arrest. Unfortunately, many drivers fail to take into account the total environment and allow an officer to make demands that cannot reasonably be met.

This type of test is difficult to “pass,” and may result in an arrest for DUI. An aggressive defense will draw out these testing flaws, and provide the driver with a solid defense.

Where to Go for Help with DUI Defense

If you have been arrested for DUI, the Law Offices of James E. Novak, P.C. can help. Defending DUI and other criminal charges is at the core of our legal practice, and we have unique insight into how to develop defense strategies that work for you.  Let us help you today. Contact us online or call our office at (480) 413-1499.

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