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Attacking Field Sobriety Tests

There can be a variety of innocent reasons for a person to fail a sobriety field test, some of which include a lack of coordination, tiredness, or even stress. Your skilled Orange County DUI attorney might find that the HGN (horizontal gaze nystagmus) test in particular is as good a time as any to establish the notion that there are a lot of reasons as to why you did not do well on the test, especially because the HGN test comes with a multitude of innocent reasons to explain away a claim of failure on the test.

A competent lawyer will also want to attack the use of complex instructions at the time of the test. The majority of field sobriety tests have many requirements, and despite the complex nature of a lot of the instructions, the tests are usually explained and demonstrated only one time and in as little as 10 to 15 seconds. A person is expected to have an instant retention of those instructions.

Additionally, the prosecution might ask the officer to repeat the instructions in open court, just as they were given to the defendant at the time of the test. On cross-examination, your California DUI attorney might want to ask that same officer to provide an estimate of how long it took him or her to give you the instructions for the test in an effort to show that they’re given in a matter of seconds.

Then, in closing arguments, your attorney may proceed to ask the jurors if they, themselves, can recall the exact instructions of the field sobriety tests in order to demonstrate the difficulty of retaining such information. If you need an Orange County DUI lawyer, please contact Chad Maddox at (714) 695-1500 for a free consultation.