Field Sobriety Tests in PA

Falls Township Field Sobriety Tests Lawyer

Field sobriety tests are basically screening tools used by law enforcement in DUI cases to roughly gauge whether a person is over the legal limit. Numerous studies have been conducted on the usefulness and accuracy of field sobriety tests. These studies have found that many sober drivers actually fail the tests. In many ways, field sobriety tests are designed for drivers to fail regardless of the circumstances.

Levittown DWI Defense

Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson is a well-respected law firm with more than 40 years of experience. Our attorneys handle DUI cases throughout Bucks County, PA, including Yardley, Silverdale, and Warrington. Additionally, we are committed to serving the best interests of clients, which means that we will keep you informed throughout the legal process and answer any questions you have about your charges. Call KCR today to discuss your case.

No Duty to Consent to Field Sobriety Tests in Pennsylvania

PA law does not require drivers to take field sobriety tests because the tests have been found to be extremely unreliable as evidence of intoxication. You cannot be charged with Refusal if you choose not to take a field sobriety test when requested by law enforcement.

However, the prosecution can still mention your refusal to take a field sobriety test during trial. Many times, prosecutors will attempt to imply that the driver must have known that they were guilty because they refused a field sobriety test. The important thing to keep in mind is that this is not evidence of intoxication and will not conclusively prove that you committed a DUI.

Types of Field Sobriety Tests

There are three primary field sobriety tests administered by PA law enforcement:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test: This is an eye tracking test in which the officer asks the driver to track a penlight, or the officer’s finger, with their eyes. The HGN test is not admissible at trial as proof of intoxication.
  • One-Leg-Stand test: The officer will ask the driver to stand on one leg, with the other leg approximately six inches above the ground. The driver is expected to count out loud during the test and maintain the standing position for at least 30 seconds.
  • Walk-and-Turn test: The driver is asked to take nine steps forward before turning around and taking nine more steps along the same line in the other direction. If the driver loses their balance or fails to maintain a straight line at any point during the test, it may be interpreted as proof of impairment.

Any other field sobriety test administered by police is not admissible as evidence in court. Additionally, only the One-Leg-Stand and the Walk-and-Turn tests are admissible as proof of intoxication; the HGN test can only be used by the prosecution as proof that the officer had probable cause for suspicion of a DUI and could therefore request a breath test.

Challenging Field Sobriety Tests in Bucks County

Field sobriety tests must be administered in a prescribed, standardized manner in order to be considered “reliable.” If the officer failed to properly administer your field sobriety test, the test results can potentially be questioned and undermined by an attorney. For example, your failure on a field sobriety could have been caused by health problems or a serious medical condition. Or perhaps you failed the test because rain or snow on the side of the road made it difficult for you to maintain your balance.

Free Consultation with a Levittown DWI Lawyer

The DUI defense lawyers at Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson have the experience needed to challenge your field sobriety test results and help you win your case. Call us now to discuss your charges, or fill out the online contact form to schedule a meeting at our office in Bensalem, PA.

Contact Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson

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