If you were stopped by the police, it may not be clear why they are telling you they will be testing your eyes. What they are actually doing is beginning field sobriety tests. The eye test is just one of the three standardized field sobriety tests used by law enforcement officers here in Georgia, to gather evidence against a driver. This evidence will later be used against the driver in court, when the prosecutor tries to get a conviction for a DUI.
Everything the police officers do, from watching a driver, to talking to them on the side of the road, to performing tests, to writing reports are part of their police training. They are trained on what to look for, how to test drivers, and even how to write their reports. This is all done during a DUI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing course. The good news is that it is not only law enforcement who can take the test to understand exactly how the process works, but a DUI defense lawyer can also take the training and use that information to defend their client in court.
Although field sobriety tests are not always accurate, even under the best conditions, they are even less reliable if the police didn't do things by the book. The police can skip a step, not pay attention, or make a mistake just like anyone else. When the police do make a mistake which unfairly lands you in jail, that mistake can later be used to get the charges against you reduced or even dismissed entirely.
Atlanta Field Sobriety Test Training
During a three-day, 24-hour training course, the police are taught what to do during DUI traffic stops. This includes having the driver run through the three standardized National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tests: the HGN eye test, the one leg stand test, and the walk and turn test. According to the NHTSA, it is the standardization that makes these field sobriety tests more reliable. This is why state patrol and police go through the training course for these tests.
Police are taught to look for signs of alcohol intoxication during the three phases of detection: vehicle in motion; personal contact; and pre-arrest screening. Police are also taught how alcohol affects the body and the central nervous system, how it is absorbed, and what other factors impact the absorption rate of alcohol. They are trained in what to look for things like:
- eye reaction
- alcohol on the breath
- alcohol smell in the car
- smells covering up alcohol (gum or cigarettes)
- slurred speech
- bloodshot eyes
- failing the one leg stand test
- failing the eye test
- failing the walk and turn test
The police are even trained on the legal environment surrounding DUI arrests to ensure they have enough evidence for the prosecutor to later use in court to prove all elements for a DUI conviction. They learn DUI defenses, including how lawyers challenge chemical test evidence, field sobriety tests, and probable cause to stop the car. Essentially, the police are trained exactly what to do to make sure an arrest leads to a conviction. So isn't it only fair that you have someone on your side, who has the training, experience, and knowledge to make sure you are treated fairly and your rights are defended?
Atlanta DUI Defense
If you or a loved one failed some field sobriety tests, you do not have to plead guilty to drunk driving. These tests aren't always accurate, and police officers don't always follow their training. I have the same NHTSA DUI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing as the local Georgia police officers, and will use this training to fight for your. If you were charged with driving under the influence, give me a call so we can discuss what happened and defend your legal rights.