Can An Asheville DUI Lawyer Challenge a Field Sobriety Test?

When we typically meet with a client for the first time, they seem intent on convincing us that they weren’t drunk at the time of their arrest. Some people insist they only had two drinks before they got behind the wheel. Others tell us that the breathalyzer test was broken or malfunctioned. Other clients complain that the cops were not fair when they administered the field sobriety test. As easy as it would be for our Asheville DUI lawyers to ignore these claims, that wouldn’t be fair.

Our team has handled many cases over the years where all three of these things have happened. It’s our job to evaluate your case, evaluate the state’s evidence, and prepare a strong defense. Here, we will explain two ways we do that – by challenging both the breathalyzer test and the field sobriety test. If you still have questions about your own DUI charges, feel free to contact us directly.

Police Officers Typically Demand that You Submit to Two Types of Tests

If you have ever been pulled over for DUI, then you know how things unfold. First, the officer will approach your window and ask for your license, insurance, and registration. The entire time you’re fumbling to find this information, the officer is taking everything in. They’re paying attention to how you sound, how you look, and how you smell. If they think you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they’re going to proceed with a typical DUI traffic stop.

The first thing the officer will ask you to do is to submit to a breathalyzer test. They will ask you to breathe into the machine until you hear a beep. Then a number will appear on the screen. This number is supposed to measure your blood alcohol concentration. Theoretically, the more alcohol you drank, the higher the number. However, there are all sorts of variables that can impact the results are breathalyzer test.

The second test they’re going to ask you to perform is a field sobriety test. For close to 100 years, law enforcement has perfected their field sobriety test. The problem is that not all officers administer the test properly. Furthermore, not all officers interpret your performance properly. These are the arguments that your Asheville criminal defense lawyer will make at trial.

Your Asheville Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Challenge the Accuracy of These Tests

There are two ways to attack the breathalyzer test and field sobriety test. The first approach is to argue that the tests we’re not accurate. By doing this, your Asheville DUI lawyer is arguing that the results were incorrect. They’re not yet arguing that the test itself was faulty. They’re simply arguing that the results did not accurately reflect your level of intoxication.

When it comes to the field sobriety test, it has more to do with the way the test was administered as compared to the breathalyzer test. The police are supposed to administer this test in a very simple fashion. If they fail to do so, or provide you with misleading or confusing instructions, then there’s a problem.

Your Attorney Can Also Argue That the Results Were Not Interpreted Fairly

The other approach that your Asheville DUI lawyer may take is that the tests were administered properly, but the results were not interpreted the right way. This is harder to do when it comes to the breathalyzer test. There is a much lower chance of human error with the breathalyzer test than with a field sobriety test.

One argument that your attorney may make is that the officers did not interpret your performance on the field sobriety test the way they should have. Some of the questions that your attorney may bring up include the following:

  • Was it raining or precipitating to the point where it was difficult to perform the test?
  • Was it very cold or hot outside and you were not dressed appropriately to be outside performing the test?
  • Did you advise the police officer that you had a medical condition and that it would inhibit your ability to perform the test?
  • Did the officer provide you with clear instructions or were they muddled or confusing?
  • In your attorney’s opinion, did you perform well on the field sobriety test?

All of these things will be taken into account when your attorney prepares your case. They will then present their findings to the prosecutor in an effort to get the charges reduced or even dismissed.

Your Asheville DUI Lawyer Will Try to Get the Charges Reduced or Dismissed

The reason people hire an Asheville DUI lawyer is that they can avoid being convicted of DUI. Most of the time, our clients understand what kind of penalties they’re facing. Other times, people charged with a DUI think they can walk away with a slap on the wrist. The laws regarding DUI are very strict. Between law enforcement and the criminal justice system, the goal is to keep unsafe drivers off the road. If they believe that you pose a danger to society, they’re going to want to lay down a harsh sentence. Our goal as your Asheville criminal defense lawyer is to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Sometimes, the best way to challenge your DUI charges is to attack the evidence that the state puts forth. As discussed here, two ways to do this is to challenge the breathalyzer test as well as the field sobriety test. If this is the only evidence the state has against you, and your attorney manages to successfully challenge this evidence, the charges would have to be dismissed. Of course, it’s never as easy as it sounds. People wouldn’t hire Asheville DUI lawyers if they could do this themselves. Thankfully, our associates have decades of combined experience handling DUI cases and know exactly what to look for.

If you realize what kind of consequences you’re facing, then you should also realize that it’s in your best interest to hire an attorney. We suggest you call our office as soon as possible after your arrest. If you get one phone call from jail, that phone call should be to our office. If that’s not possible, ask a friend or family member to get in touch with us on your behalf.

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