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Field Sobriety Tests in Missouri

What do you need to know about this DWI evidence?

Field sobriety tests are one of the ways that a St. Louis police officer that has pulled over a driver on suspicion of driving under the influence can gather evidence to make an arrest. YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED BY LAW TO SUBMIT TO A FIELD SOBRIETY TEST. In nearly every DWI case, the police officer has already made up their mind whether or not they will try and make an arrest, and the purpose of a field sobriety test is to simply justify that decision. Don’t let police officers bully you into something you are not legally required to perform.

An experienced DWI lawyer will try to have the results of field sobriety tests suppressed in court for a number of reasons. Many police officers are not properly trained to administer and/or properly evaluate the results of a field sobriety test. These tests are largely subjective and are often conducted in non-ideal conditions.

Were you asked to take a field sobriety test before your DWI arrest? Our team of St. Louis DWI defense attorneys can fight against these accusations on your behalf! Schedule your free consultation with Millikan Wright, LLC today!

What are field sobriety tests?

Field sobriety tests are comprised of physical and mental tasks used to determine if the driver is impaired. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recommended specific instructions on which field sobriety tests should be conducted and how a police officer should conduct the tests. The NHTSA has stated that "If any one of the standardized field sobriety test elements is changed, the validity is compromised."

The NHTSA recommends the following standardized field sobriety tests:

  • The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test: Asking the accused to follow an object, such as a pen, with their eyes in order to observe the involuntary reaction of the eyes at certain angles.
  • The Walk-and-Turn (WAT) Test: The suspected drunk driver is asked to walk heel to toe in a straight line and return in the same manner.
  • The One-Leg-Stand Test: A driver is asked to hold one foot off the ground and count by thousands for around 30 seconds.

According to some estimates, these tests, when used in combination with one another, are allegedly accurate in 91% of all DWI cases. If this estimation is correct, it is also assuming that the tests were performed correctly and there were no extenuating circumstances that could have contributed to a false positive.

In addition to these tests, many police officers will ask a driver suspected of drunk driving to recite the alphabet without singing and/or to count backwards from 100 to a specific number. These tests are not endorsed by the NHTSA as part of a standardized field sobriety test rotation.

Why is hiring a St. Louis DWI defense lawyer to your benefit?

A field sobriety test is just one element of the evidence collected in a DWI case. Other evidence may include: police officer observations, defendant statements, preliminary/portable breath test (PBT) and BAC test results (breathalyzer or blood test).

The team at Millikan Wright, LLC has over 50 years of combined experience handling cases just like yours. We have worked with clients that have taken, and failed, field sobriety tests that have led to their subsequent arrests. As former police officers and a former prosecuting attorney, our firm has experience on the other side of the law and knows of the various tactics that can be used to convict you for a crime you are not guilty of.

The sooner that you call our St. Louis DWI attorneys, the quicker that we can begin building a solid case to cast doubt on your charges. When your rights and freedoms are on the line, you cannot afford to waste any time!

Hear From Our Previous Clients

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