Your defense might benefit from the expertise of a King County DUI lawyer, especially if you need to challenge the field sobriety test performed during your traffic stop. One strategy may be to highlight the unreliability in DUI standardized tests.
Even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which established several field sobriety tests, has raised some concerns regarding test reliability when used by law enforcement under real-life conditions. Although the NHTSA researched field sobriety tests and identified procedures for the DUI standardized tests, the NHTSA never endorsed the tests as actual, direct indicators of a driver’s impairment. The NHTSA even released a statement explaining that field tests by the roadside might not accurately measure driver impairment.
In one research study commissioned by the NHTSA, the researchers explained that valid, established tests might not be the best predictors of a driver’s actual performance behind the wheel of a car. Driving is a complex activity which requires a range of abilities and calls on the driver to perform a variety of tasks. A brief roadside test may not be able to measure that performance accurately.
Some law enforcement agencies have agreed with the researchers who question the reliability of field sobriety tests. In particular, police agencies have reviewed their use of the nystagmus test, which relies on the use of a stimulus to assess a driver’s eye movements. These movements do not necessarily indicate impairment; many other factors and variables often affect a driver’s eye movements and reactions during the nystagmus test.
Knowledge, research, and strong legal strategy may make all the difference in a DUI case. An experienced King County DUI attorney may be able to raise a reasonable doubt about the reliability of field sobriety tests in your case. If you would like to speak with me about your case, please contact me for a free initial consultation.