Tampa DUI Attorney: Innocent Reasons for Failing Field Sobriety Tests

A defendant may have failed a field sobriety test, but not have been driving under the influence. Field sobriety tests can be challenging. There may be innocent reasons for not doing well, which your Tampa DUI attorney can explain to you. For example, a person may not pass due to factors such as exhaustion, physical impairment, or anxiety. In particular, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which examines lateral or horizontal eye jerking when the eye gazes to the side, often presents harmless reasons for failing to perform well.

In addition, field sobriety tests have complex instructions. Despite this complexity, officers usually explain the tests only once, and in just a few seconds. The driver is then expected to instantly understand the procedure.

Your Tampa DUI attorney has techniques for addressing these issues. For example, when the arresting officer testifies on direct examination about giving the instructions, your Tampa DUI attorney might measure how long it takes for the officer to give the instructions. On cross-examination, your attorney can ask whether the officer instructed you in a similar way. After a “yes” answer, your attorney can ask the officer to confirm that the instructions took only 20 seconds.

In addition, in closing argument, your attorney might remind the jury how well you did on the field sobriety tests despite how quickly the instructions were given. Your attorney might even ask the jurors if they can remember the instructions. Your attorney might remind the jurors that they have had hours, not seconds, to think about the instructions.

If you’ve been arrested for DUI, your rights may be threatened. Contact Tampa DUI attorney James Adams for a free evaluation of your case.