Field Sobriety Testing in Jacksonville DUI Cases Can Be Beaten

Jacksonville DUI Attorneys recently posted a blog about an accident in Nassau in which Florida Highway Patrol troopers suspect the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, WJXT reports.

Law enforcement officers report that the driver blew through a stop sign, causing a three-vehicle collision that caused a woman to suffer injuries that have kept her in the hospital.Troopers have cited the 41-year-old driver with running a stop sign, careless driving, failing too stay in lane and driving to fast for conditions. The news agency reports troopers are awaiting blood testing results to determine whether the evidence supports filing DUI-related charges.

All the facts of the case aren’t clear, but any DUI case should be fought vigorously by an experienced Jacksonville DUI Defense Attorney. While most people are charged with a misdemeanor if they face DUI charges in Jacksonville, the penalties nonetheless in these cases are steep. An cases involving an accident frequently lead to felony charges.

A defendant faces:

-Fines of $500 to $1,000
-50 hours of community service
-Probation of up to 1 year
-Jail time of up to 6 months
-10 days vehicle impound
-DUI School completion
One of the ways law enforcement officers secure convictions in these cases is by making drivers suspected of DUI take field sobriety tests. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are only three recognized field sobriety tests officers should conduct:

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus:

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus is an involuntary jerking of the eye that happens as the eyes gaze to the side. When a person is impaired by alcohol, nystagmus is exaggerated and may occur at lesser angles. A person affected by alcohol may also have a tough time following an object.

Walk and Turn:

Most people can recognize this test as when an officer makes a person listen and follow simple physical movements that a person under the influence of drugs or alcohol may have difficulty doing. In this test, a person must take nine steps, heel-to-toe, along a straight line and return in the opposite direction. Balance, walking in a straight line and ability to follow directions are what officers consider.

One Leg Stand:

In this test, people are required to stand with one foot about six inches off the ground and count aloud by thousands until told to put the foot down. The officer times the driver for 30 seconds.

An aggressive Jacksonville DUI Lawyer will challenge any field sobriety test results law enforcement officers attempt to bring into evidence. They can be challenged by showing that the officer wasn’t properly trained to conduct the tests or other factors were involved in the results. In fact, motorists are not obligated to participate in the tests and may refuse to do so.

An attorney can also show that the weather conditions or an existing physical ailment made conducting the tests fairly impossible. Slick pavement on the side of a road covered with gravel, grass and pebbles can make performing these tests difficult.

And problems with a person’s legs, knees and feet, circulatory system, respiratory system or other pre-existing conditions that affect a person’s body can make performing these tests almost impossible. Our firm will fight to challenge all aspects of a DUI case, including the field sobriety testing that an officer performs on a DUI suspect.

The Forbess Law Firm has been helping clients facing criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and are here to provide constitutionally required criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville DUI defense lawyer, contact our firm today through our website. Or call us at 904-634-0900.

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