Field Sobriety Test

Field Sobriety Test - Arapahoe County Drunk Driving Defense Attorney

If a police officer suspects an Arapahoe County motorist of DUI or DWAI, that motorist may be asked to take a voluntary "Field Sobriety Test." These tests are how Englewood police officers check a motorist's impairment, presumably used in establishing probable cause to support an arrest. DUI roadside tests are subjective, which means they are administered solely by the investigating police officer(s) and not upon any set of "hard and fast" rules. An experienced Drunk Driving Defense Attorney can help you understand the law surrounding Field Sobriety Tests, why you should not take them, what they entail, and how the test can potentially result in incorrect charges. Contact our DUI / DWAI defense lawyers for a case evaluation.

Refusing a Field Sobriety Test in Jefferson County and Douglas County

The important rule to remember is that you may politely refuse to take any roadside test in Jefferson County and Douglas County. They are entirely voluntary and the law does not require you to take them.

Just like the portable breath test at the scene of the traffic stop, you will not be penalized at all if you decline to take the roadside tests.

You really have little to gain and plenty to lose in taking the tests. You will generally be helping the officer obtain probable cause to arrest you and give the government evidence against you, if you take these roadside tests.

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests in Adams County - What to Expect?

In Adams County and Phillips County, you can expect a police officer to ask you to consent to a Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) if they think you might be legally intoxicated or have your ability impaired by drugs or alcohol. Keep in mind that the officer wants good people like you to fail this test, as your failure will mean that they are justified in their assumptions about pulling you over. Also, they want a pat-on-the-back for adding one more person to their arrest record count. As part of the test, you can be subjected to the following tests:

  • Horizontal and Vertical Gaze Nystagmus
  • Walk and Turn
  • One Leg Stand
  • Finger to Nose
  • Romberg Balance Test

Here are detailed descriptions of each test component:

Horizontal and Vertical Gaze Nystagmus by Denver Cops

In the Colorado Horizontal and Vertical Gaze Nystagmus roadside test, the Denver Police Officer will position a pen, pen light, or his or her finger in front of the motorist's face and move the object from side to side and up and down, watching the subject's eyes. During the HGN test, the officer is watching for involuntary jerking or trembling of the eyeball, which in many circumstances is a sign of impairment.

Walk and Turn With the Lakewood Police

With this test, the Lakewood Police Officer instructs the motorist to take nine "heel-to-toe" steps along a real or imaginary line, turn in a specifically instructed manner, and then take nine "heel-to-toe" steps back to the starting position. While performing the difficult-to-remember Walk and Turn Test task, the motorist is expected to keep his or her arms at his or her sides without raising them. The officer will monitor the motorist's ability to follow his or her instructions, balance, whether or not the "line" was followed, number of steps taken, manner of steps taken (i.e., whether or not the motorist touched "heel-to-toe" on each step), arm position, and head position, during this test.

Arvada Police One Leg Stand DUI Test

Generally, the Arvada Police Officer instructs the motorist to raise one leg six inches off the ground while watching the foot, keeping the bottom of his or her heel parallel to the ground, keeping the arms at his or her sides, and while counting out loud until the officer instructs the motorist to stop. The officer will watch for ability to follow instructions, general lack of balance (such as swaying, hopping, putting the foot down prior to being told to do so, and raising the arms), and ability to accurately measure the passage of time. The One Leg Stand DUI test focuses on the ability to multitask, hoping for signs of alcohol impairment.

Finger to Nose Test by a Jefferson County Sheriff Deputy

The Finger to Nose DUI Test begins when the deputy instructs the driver to stand with his or her feet together and arms at his or her sides, to close his or her eyes, and to tilt their head back. The motorist will then further be instructed to bend his or her arm at the elbow and to touch each index finger to the tip of the nose three times. Again, the Jefferson County Sheriff Deputy will watch for the ability to follow instructions, general lack of balance (such as swaying, unsteadiness and opening the eyes) and the ability to meet the tip of the index finger to the tip of the nose.

Englewood Police Romberg Balance Test

With head tilted back, feet together and eyes closed, the motorist will be instructed to estimate the passage of approximately 30 seconds. With this test, the Englewood Police Officer is evaluating the suspect's "internal clock," which, according to the officer, will be slow in the case of alcohol or depressants use, or fast in the case of stimulants. The officer will also check for an ability to follow instructions and signs of general lack of balance (such as swaying, unsteadiness, opening the eyes, separating the feet and raising the arms).

Denver Lawyer for Failed Field Sobriety Test and DUI / DWAI

From reciting portions of the alphabet backward or forward to finger counting and counting backward, there are many field sobriety tests that police officers employ. We advise that our clients politely decline taking such tests. They cannot help you and usually hurt you. For more information about Denver, Colorado, DUI / DWAI law, or if you have failed a Field Sobriety Test, contact our lawyers today at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.

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