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Is There a Defense After a Failed Sobriety Test?


When you fail a sobriety test, it could lead to a driving while intoxicated arrest. But there can be ways to move forward with a defense after a DWI charge. An experienced attorney will look over the circumstances of the test, how it was performed, and determine if there is a viable path to proving your innocence. Connect with a Baltimore DUI & DWI lawyer to discuss options.

Types of Sobriety Tests

Sometimes referred to as field sobriety tests, there are three types of tests that a law enforcement officer might use other than a breathalyzer or blood test.

Three types of field sobriety tests used by law enforcement:

  • One-Leg Stand test
  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test
  • Walk and Turn test

When a person is asked to perform the one-leg stand test, the individual is told to put their arms at their sides and place their feet next to one another. From there, a person will be told to raise a leg, about six inches from the ground. While the person counts, the police officer will record any indicators of intoxication, such as swaying, hopping, or using arms to try and stay balanced. The test typically lasts 30 seconds.

If you were given this test but feel your failing the test was due to an issue other than intoxication, it may be possible to use a health issue as a defense. After all, many have balance issues for a wide array of reasons.

The same could also be said of the walk and turn test. Another test in connection to balance, a walk and turn test is a toe-to-heel walk. If the pavement is uneven or there is a broken walking surface, this can impact results as well. Not a balance test, a Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test measures involuntary eye motion that can be connected to impairment from drugs or alcohol.

It is also important to note that you can decline field sobriety tests. Of course, you should decline with respect, but there is no penalty for refusal. This is true, in part, because failing one or all of these tests is not necessarily proof that an individual is impaired.

After a Baltimore Breathalyzer Test, Talk to a Maryland Lawyer

While breathalyzer tests can be efficient tools, that is not always the case. There are times when human error impacts results. Or the filters of the breathalyzer were not placed correctly in production. While it is common for officers to rely on breath testing devices, a defense could be possible when they are not administered properly if the product itself has faults.

If you are charged with a driving while intoxicated, connect with a Baltimore DWI lawyer to discuss your defense. Many options could be available, depending on your situation.

Did you or someone you love fail a Maryland sobriety test? Contact the legal team at Iamele & Iamele, LLP to understand your options. Our knowledgeable attorneys can defend you against minor and serious criminal charges. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.


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