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We question field sobriety tests in our DWI cases

A previous post on this blog discussed how field sobriety tests, which many in the Tampa metro area now see as part of the police's standard routine when they are stopping a Florida motorist on suspicion of drunk driving, can in fact be an unreliable indicator of whether a person is intoxicated.

Both the police and the prosecutors who work closely with them put a great deal of stock in these tests and often rely on them to justify their detention of a person so that they can obtain an official breath or blood test, which then can be used to secure a conviction for DWI. Although we recognize that these tests have to be dealt with in almost any DWI defense, our office takes a more skeptical approach to these tests.

In fact, we prefer to call them "roadside sobriety exercises," since we don't believe that they are tests in the sense of having a definitive right or wrong answer. We recognize, for instance, that many times, people who are not drunk in any way cannot perform these tests. For example, lots of people cannot stand on one foot for very long, especially if they are asked to count or do something else. Some people, due to balance issues or other physical problems, may not be able to walk in a straight line, even if sober.

Rather than simply taking the field sobriety tests for granted, we do a thorough investigation in to lots of areas. In addition to our client's own medical history, we also investigate how the officer administered the test and the other circumstances, including the presence of heavy traffic and even the condition of the road. While we cannot promise a win in every case, we will work very hard to get a judge or jury to disregard the filed sobriety test as valid if there is a legal basis for us to do so.

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