After you’ve been arrested for DUI, you will be booked and officially charged. You’ll have a few days before you are required to enter your plea. If you plead guilty, you’ll be sentenced right away. You will lose your license for at least six months. You will also have to pay close to a thousand dollars in fines (if it’s your first offense.) You will also have to spend some time in jail.
Knowing what the consequences are, it’s in your best interest to hire an experienced DUI lawyer in Asheville. They can help prepare a defense on your behalf. One way they may do this is by challenging the results of your field sobriety test.
The Cops Will Ask You to Submit to Two Types of Tests
When you’re pulled over on suspicion of DUI, the cops are going to ask you to perform two types of tests. The first test is the breathalyzer test. The officer will ask you to breathe into a tube until you hear a loud beep. The test will then measure your blood alcohol concentration. If the results are .08 or higher, you will be arrested and charged with DUI. There is no way to get out of a DUI if you blow above the legal limit.
The second kind of test you may be asked to perform is the field sobriety test. This test helps measure your coordination and fine motor skills. Essentially, the test will have you perform a variation of three different tasks.
The first is the test where you have to stand on one leg for an indeterminate length of time. The officer will look to see if you can keep your balance. If you start wobbling or your foot drops to the ground, the officer will argue that you are under the influence.
The second thing the officers will ask you to do is walk a straight line, heel-to-toe. Once you reach ten, you’ll have to turn around and walk back the same way you came. If you can’t walk in a straight line, the cops will assume you’re drunk or high.
The third and final element of the field sobriety test is the test where you’re asked to follow a penlight or flashlight back and forth. The cops are looking to see if you’re able to do this. If you can’t follow the object without moving your head, you will be deemed impaired.
It’s Hard to Challenge the Breathalyzer Test
It’s one thing for your DUI lawyer in Asheville to challenge the field sobriety test. It’s an entirely different thing for them to challenge the results of the breathalyzer test. The portable breathalyzer tests used by the police in Asheville are used all the time.
Very rarely is someone able to challenge the results. If you blow a .08 or higher, you will be charged with DUI. Unless your Asheville criminal lawyer can find some other way to poke holes in the State’s case, you may be facing some pretty stiff penalties.
Was the Field Sobriety Test Administered Properly?
Every now and then, our Asheville criminal lawyers are able to get the results of the field sobriety test thrown out. If the test was not administered properly, then the results of the test should not be used against you in court. For example, if the police officer doesn’t explain the directions clearly, you may not be able to perform the test all that well.
The same is true if the officer is screaming at you or insulting you as you attempt to perform the test. Nobody can perform well under these conditions. If your DUI lawyer in Asheville can point out the unfairness with which the field sobriety test was administered, there’s a good chance the charges against you will have to be dismissed.
At a minimum, this is a bargaining chip your attorney can use to convince the prosecutor to reduce your charges to reckless driving. This will make all the difference in your penalties, fines, and possible jail time. It will also allow you to keep your driver’s license intact.
Were You Forced to Perform the Test During Inclement Weather?
If it is raining, sleeting, or snowing, it can be very difficult to perform the field sobriety test. It doesn’t matter whether you have been drinking or are stone-cold sober. Very few people would be able to perform well on this kind of test during inclement weather. The good news is that the police will videotape you taking the field sobriety test. If it is clear in the video that the weather is nasty, your DUI lawyer in Asheville will challenge the validity of it.
It is one thing for a person who has been drinking or using drugs to fail the field sobriety test. It is quite another to force someone to perform the test when it’s nearly impossible to see three feet in front of you. It’s also extremely difficult to perform the kind of tasks required of the field sobriety test when you are freezing, wet, and tired.
Your Asheville Criminal Lawyer Will Do Their Best to Get the Charges Dismissed
Regardless of how you performed on the field sobriety test, you may still be charged with DUI. The best thing you can do is call and talk to one of our Asheville criminal lawyers. They can review whatever evidence the State has and find out how strong their case is. If they believe they can challenge the results of the field sobriety test, they will.
As discussed here, there are certain factors that can legitimately impact your performance on this sort of test. In fact, it’s easier to challenge the field sobriety test than it is the breathalyzer test. Since so many cops use portable breathalyzer tests, the argument that the machine wasn’t calibrated properly no longer holds water.
However, if there is a valid reason for why you didn’t perform well on the field sobriety test, your DUI lawyer in Asheville will bring it up to the prosecutor. Their goal is to get the charges against you dismissed or at least reduced.
Like it or not, the odds of your walking away with a favorable plea are much better if you have an Asheville criminal lawyer by your side. We suggest you call our office as soon as possible after your DUI arrest. If possible, you should call our office from jail and arrange to meet with a DUI lawyer in Asheville that same day if possible.