Should You Do Field Sobriety Tests If You Are Being Arrested for a Lynnwood DUI?

Should You Do Field Sobriety Tests If You Are Being Arrested for a Lynnwood DUI?

If you are pulled over for investigation of a Lynnwood DUI, or a Washington DUI, the officer will almost always ask you to perform field sobriety tests. As a Lynnwood criminal defense attorney , th e question I am often asked by my clients is whether they should have done the field sobriety tests, or if they should do them if they are pulled over in the future.

There is no perfect answer to that question as every situation is unique. In most situations, however, it is thought that it is better to refuse field sobriety tests if a driver has consumed alcohol. A driver has the right to refuse sobriety tests in Washington state. There are three standardized field sobriety tests in Washington state:

  1. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (an eye test)
  2. The nine step Walk and Turn Test (a balance and agility test)
  3. The 30-second One Leg Stand Test (a balance and counting test)

Per NHTSA, the National Highway and Traffic Safety Association, each test must be instructed in a standardized way and scored in a standardized way for the tests to be valid and therefore relevant in court.

In handling literally hundreds of DUI cases as a Lynnwood DUI attorney, I routinely find that officers mis-instruct and mis-score these tests, making the results unfair and unwarranted for the driver. As a Lynnwood DUI Lawyer, I have taken the same field sobriety test training as the officers, being certified at both the student level (four day class - what all officers must take) and the instructor level (3 days of additional training - what some more advanced traffic officers take). This means that I know exactly how the tests should be instructed and scored. In some cities, such as in a Lynnwood DUI, or a Seattle DUI, the officers often have video cameras in their cars which works to our advantage in catching their mistakes. In cities without cameras, such as in an Edmonds DUI or a Shoreline DUI, we must rely on the testimony of the officer, either in court, or at the Department of Licensing (DOL) hearing.

Given that in my aggressive Washington DUI defense I often find these mistakes, it is usually best to refuse field sobriety tests. If you wish to find more information on Washington DUI defense, browse the rest of my website.

Still, there is no substitute for personal one-on-one advice from an experienced Washington DUI attorney. If you are charged with a Lynnwood DUI or a Washington DUI it is best to contact me as soon as possible so that we can discuss how the field sobriety tests were instructed, where they took place, what you were wearing, etc., while the events of the incident are still fresh in your head. Call me now and I'll be there for you.

Lynnwood criminal attorney Lance Fryrear is here to help.