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Field Sobriety Tests Attorney

Atlanta DUI Arrests Involving Sobriety Testing

Many people misunderstand their rights during field sobriety tests in Georgia. This is because many people incorrectly believe the law of implied consent includes refusing to comply with field sobriety tests. However, citizens are well within their rights to refuse to submit to a field sobriety test without suffering immediate legal consequences because of your decision.

Were you arrested for suspicion of DUI after refusing a field sobriety test in Georgia? Whether you agreed to perform the tests or not, it is important to have a full understanding of the charges against you and your legal options moving forward. DUI convictions of any kind can impose harsh penalties on your life—do not fight the charges without a dedicated Atlanta DUI attorney at your side!

At The Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub, P.C., our team is proud to have handled hundreds of DUI cases with success. Contact us today so we may help you protect your rights!

Common Field Sobriety Tests

Typically, a law enforcement officer will adminster a number of individual tests. Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) is a test in which an officer has a driver follow a moving object – commonly a pen – with their eyes. They will observe the driver's pupils and watch for signs that indicate difficulties in smoothly following the object. The horizontal gaze nystagmus has been widely criticized as a testing methodology and can be complicated by various eye conditions.

In addition to the HGN, officers will often require driver's to walk a straight line and turn. This test is also subjective and can be complicated by a number of factors, including a driver's physical condition, weather conditions, and the surface or ground itself. Swaying or difficulty balancing may certainly indicate impairment, but it is not the only factor that may cause these symptoms. One-leg stands, which are among the common tests, are also prone to these same complications. Other tests that may be performed include counting, either silently or aloud, and touching one's finger to their nose with their eyes closed.

What are your options during a DUI stop?

When you are pulled over for a DUI, it is important that you remain calm and aware of your rights. You have the right to refuse field sobriety tests in Georgia if an officer asks you to perform them, and if you choose to refuse them, you should do so politely. It is also crucial that you understand that while field sobriety tests are optional, chemical tests are mandatory. In fact, Georgia maintains what is known as an implied consent law, meaning that when you refuse to submit to a breath or blood test, you may subject yourself to automatic penalties. Refusing a chemical test can result in an automatic suspension of your driver's license and may subject you to an arrest.

At the Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub, our Atlanta DUI lawyers are focused on helping clients fully understand their rights. Even if you did submit to field sobriety tests – and you are certainly not alone if you did – there is still always the possibility that these tests can be challenged during your case and defense.

Understanding the Law of Implied Consent

Implied consent is a state law that all drivers agree to recognize upon earning their driver's license. Under O.C.G.A. § 40-5-55 and § 40-5-67.1, drivers who refuse to submit to a chemical test such as a breathalyzer or blood test may have their license automatically suspended by the arresting officer. Implied consent only concerns chemical tests—it does not include field sobriety tests.

Individuals may refuse to submit to field sobriety tests without suffering immediate legal repercussions. Keep in mind that this does not protect individuals from being arrested for DUI, it only protects individuals' right to prevent self-incrimination. Politely refusing to participate in the field sobriety test may work in your favor, but it does not protect you from an arrest.

Under implied consent, refusing to take a breathalyzer, urine, or blood test results in license suspension.
Learn more about refusing to take BAC tests.

What are field sobriety tests?

Field sobriety tests were designed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to help police officers estimate a person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. However, these tests cannot absolutely determine and prove that a person is intoxicated beyond the legal .08% limit. Usually, they are simply used as supporting evidence to bring a DUI charge against an individual.

Common field sobriety tests include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), the Walk and Turn (WAT), and the One-Leg Stand (OLS). Some sources indicate that nearly one in three of conventional field sobriety tests are fault as a result of problematic conduct and improper procedure. Contesting field sobriety tests may be the element of your defense that secures a victory against the DUI charge.

How Consent/Refusal Affects Your Case

When it comes to defending against a DUI charge, the evidence against you is one of the most important parts of the prosecution's case. As former prosecutors, our Atlanta DUI lawyers know that the decision to consent to a field sobriety test, as well as the decision to refuse it, plays a key role in many DUI cases. Improper police procedure may have contributed to a DUI stop and resulted in a wrongful arrest. Reviewing your circumstances with an experienced legal professional is the first step to building a strong defense against the DUI charge.

Dedicated Defense to Secure Your Freedom—Call 404-907-1536

Our team has 40+ years of collective experience in DUI defense and criminal defense. When you retain the legal counsel and dedicated representation of our DUI lawyer in Atlanta, you gain access to years of experience and success handling hundreds of DUI cases. Take action before it is too late to bring a solid defense against the DUI charge—retain the guidance of our criminal defense team and contest the field sobriety test evidence brought against you. It may mean the difference between a DUI conviction and an acquittal.

Arrested for DUI? Do not wait to secure exceptional legal protection. Schedule your case consultation with The Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub, P.C. today!