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Frisco Field Sobriety Test Defense Attorney

DWI Defense Attorney For Forced Field Sobriety Testing in Collin County, TX

Little Elm Field Sobriety Testing Lawyers

If you have been pulled over for a suspected traffic violation and the officer who initiated the stop suspects that you might be driving while intoxicated (DWI), you will probably be asked to submit to several tests. First, you might be asked to take a preliminary breath test to determine your unofficial blood-alcohol concentration (BAC). Whether or not you take—or pass—the breath test, the officer may then request that you participate in a battery of assessments known as the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs). Administering this series of motor-skills tests is a subjective practice commonly used to establish probable cause for a DWI arrest, but they are not always accurate.

At the Law Offices of Biederman & Burleson P.L.L.C., our skilled attorneys have successfully defended hundreds of clients charged with DWI-related offenses, including many who allegedly "failed" field sobriety tests. We are well-versed on the procedures that must be followed by law enforcement when administering SFSTs. In fact, the attorneys at Biederman & Burleson are certified in the administration of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. They have obtained literally the same certifications as the police officers. Additionally, Hunter Biederman is an instructor in the tests. He can teach the course that certifies the police officers.

Mistakes are more common than you might think. If you have been arrested and charged with DWI based on your performance on the SFSTs, we can help you mount an aggressive defense.

What Are the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests?

The Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, as recognized by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), consists of three distinct assessments intended to determine whether a driver is impaired. Police officers may attempt to use other, non-standard tests, but their validity is generally questionable, and the results of non-standard tests are rarely recognized by the court. According to the NHTSA, the battery of standardized tests is claimed to be about 90 percent accurate when all three tests are administered correctly. While 90 percent may sound reasonably reliable, this still means that for every 100 arrests made as the result of SFST results, 10 are likely to be wrong—and that is before improper procedures and human error are even considered!

The three tests that comprise the NHTSA-approved Standardized Field Sobriety Tests are:

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN):The officer will have the subject follow a stimulus, such as a finger or pen, with only his or her eyes. Involuntary jerking of the eyes, called "nystagmus" at the horizontal extremes is generally considered an indicator of impairment. The HGN test is about 77 percent accurate in identifying impairment, according to federal estimates.
  • Walk and turn: The subject will be asked to walk in a heel-to-toe manner along a straight line, either marked or imaginary. After nine steps, the subject must turn completely around and walk back along the same line. The officer will look for balance problems, confusion, or issues with staying on the line. Federal estimates place the accuracy of the walk and turn at about 68 percent.
  • One-leg stand:The officer will ask the subject to raise one foot a few inches off the ground and remain balanced on one foot while counting out loud for 30 seconds. Struggling to balance, slurred speech, or losing count are indicators of alleged impairment. The one-leg stand is about 65 percent accurate, per federal estimates.

Attorneys Who Get Results

Our client, "Billy," was stopped for speeding, and the officer claimed to smell alcohol on Billy's breath and that Billy had red, bloodshot, watery eyes. The officer had Billy perform the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. According to the officer, Billy failed, and he was arrested for DWI. At the police station, Billy refused blood and breath tests. The officer attempted to get a warrant for Billy's blood but was unable to reach a judge.

When Billy came to us, he was quite despondent because he figured he had no chance of defending himself. After careful review of the case, we told Billy that he had virtually nothing to lose if he fought his case. Billy agreed, and we went to trial.

At trial, the officer claimed that the field sobriety tests were scientifically valid. Under cross-examination, he was unable to provide a scientific basis for their validity. In fact, he knew only that they were used by law enforcement, and he could not explain how they showed whether or not someone was intoxicated. The jury found Billy NOT GUILTY, setting him up for a full expunction of his record.

Protecting Your Rights in Fairview and Prosper

Attorneys Troy Burleson and Hunter Biederman have more than 27 years of combined experience in the practice of the law. We understand that before SFST results can even be considered by the court, prosecutors must show that the administering officer successfully completed the NHTSA's training program. Both Mr. Burleson and Mr. Biederman have completed the program, so we know what is expected of police officers, and we know when proper procedures are not followed. If the officer was not properly trained or failed to administer the tests in accordance with standardized protocols, we will challenge the results of the test in front of the judge and jury.

We will also work to show that "poor" performance on the SFSTs could be related to something other than alcohol or drug impairment. For example, an inner-ear problem could cause a person to have trouble with balance, rendering the walk-and-turn and one-leg-stand tests effectively meaningless with regard to impairment. Regardless of the circumstances, we will work hard to protect your rights and your best interests, and we will remain at your side every step of the way.

Call 469-333-3333 Today

For more information about field sobriety testing in Texas, contact our office. Call 469-333-3333 to schedule a free consultation with a skilled DWI defense attorney today. Our firm serves clients in Collin County, Denton County, Dallas County, and the surrounding areas.

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