Field Sobriety Tests 
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Field Sobriety Tests

What is a Field Sobriety Test?

A Field Sobriety Test in Washington is a test given by an officer of the law to a driver of a motor vehicle who the officer suspects of driving under the influence. There are 3 such tests that are considered standard by the National Traffic Safety Administration.

Types of Field Sobriety Tests

These include:

  • The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) - Horizontal gaze nystagmus is a medical term indicating a particular eyeball oscillation. This is a jerking type movement of the eyeball when it gazes to the side. It is exaggerated by intoxication. The officer will have you follow a finger etc. to see if you can follow a moving object smoothly.
  • Walk-and-turn - In this test the officer will have you walk heel-to-toe for 9 steps and then turn around and walk back in the same fashion. The officer will look for signs of imbalance.
  • One-legged stand - With this test the officer will have you stand and lift one foot off the ground approximately 6 inches and will look for imbalance.

There are other tests sometimes administered by police officers but the above are the only standardized tests. If you have submitted to a Washington field sobriety test by an officer resulting in a DUI arrest it is of the utmost importance that you contact a Lynnwood criminal defense lawyer to get the best possible defense against your charges. Your license and record are at stake, so it is vital to call today.

There are two further points you should know regarding field sobriety tests:

  • You are not required by law to submit to a field sobriety test and cannot be arrested because you refuse to submit to the test.
  • A positive test leading to a DUI arrest does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted based on the test results. There are many defenses that can be used against any positive results.


Searching for a lawyer for your DUI case in Lynnwood, WA? Contact us at The Law Offices of Lance Fryrear regarding your field sobriety test. As a knowledgeable Lynnwood DUI attorneys we can assess how the field sobriety test in Washington can affect your case.



There could be defenses to your field sobriety test. Contact our firm today to discuss your case!

Should You Do Field Sobriety Tests?

If you are pulled over for investigation of a Lynnwood DUI, the officer will almost always ask you to perform field sobriety tests. The question 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.

Officers often mis-instruct and mis-score these tests, making the results unfair and unwarranted for the driver. In some cities, such as in a Lynnwood, or a Seattle, the officers often have video cameras in their cars which works to our advantage in catching their mistakes. In cities without cameras, we must rely on the testimony of the officer, either in court, or at the Department of Licensing (DOL) hearing.

It is usually best to refuse field Washington sobriety tests. If you are charged with a Lynnwood DUI or a Washington DUI it is best to contact meas 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.

Fighting For Your Rights in Lynnwood

Field sobriety tests have many angles that should be investigated thoroughly to determine how the tests may or may not affect your case. Our former experience as prosecutors will help to ensure that you get the best result possible based on the facts of the case. Understanding the field sobriety test is part of that experience.

Furthermore, as a defense attorneys we have been certified in field sobriety testing, enrolling in advanced classes that require multiple days of exhaustive training and testing on field sobriety tests. We have also completed the same instruction course required of most police officers and have furthermore been certified as an instructors in field sobriety testing, allowing us to train others in this vital area.

We have found this experience vital in defending our client's cases and holding police officers accountable for instructing and scoring these tests correctly - something which they rarely do. Have you been given a field sobriety test and arrested for DUI?

Contact The Law Office of Lance Fryrear at the earliest convenience so the field tests and results can be investigated thoroughly and accurately.


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