Field Sobriety Tests Are Not Mandatory in Georgia: Just Say NO!
By: Cory Yager, Award-winning DUI Attorney and an Ex-Cop With Over 1000 DUI Arrests to His Credit
Before the one-leg stand, eye test, and walk-and-turn, police officers “made up” their own physical tests. Some officers threw coins on the ground and ordered that only nickels or quarters be picked up by the driver. The cop would ask a driver to lean back and touch one finger to his or her nose or recite the alphabet backward.
Sobriety tests were standardized across the country over 40 years ago. This article will convince you that only the very best and well-trained drunk driving lawyers from DUI law offices near me should be entrusted to DEFEND a DUI in Georgia.
Standardized field sobriety tests in Georgia are 100% voluntary. You do not have to take an SFST! Plus, no type of “penalty” will occur to you or your driving privileges for simply saying NO to the NHTSA standardized field sobriety test “battery.”
A police officer is trained to “urge” you to complete the HGN eye test, the walk-and-turn, or the one-leg stand. Typically, a detained driver is not told that these roadside tests are optional. The opposite is usually the case: the officer, as part of the DUI investigation, starts to instruct the person to focus on a penlight as the officer moves it from side-to-side.
A majority of drivers’ fully cooperate with the request because they think that if they “obey,” the officer will go “easy” on them and will let the person go. This widely held belief is not the case!
From the moment an officer flashes his lights and turns on his siren to get you to pull over, your every move is being captured on the police dashcam video. Police officers do not “let people go,” especially if you are driving erratically or you refuse to pull over immediately. Once you have stopped, the officer is on the radio calling in other officers to assist in the DUI investigation and possible arrest.
Once outside your vehicle, and after you have blown into a portable breathalyzer, the officer will check your blood alcohol content (BAC) level, and if you are over the legal limit, you can expect to take the field sobriety tests. The first roadside test is officially called the horizontal gaze nystagmus, or HGN. This test is more commonly referred to as the DUI eye test.
An officer holds a pen in front of your face and asks you to follow it from side-to-side without moving your head. The officer is looking for any shaking motion in your eyes, an indication that you have consumed alcohol. A non-intoxicated person will track the pen’s motion with a more fluid movement. This eye gaze nystagmus test is unscientific and unreliable!
People with eye problems have trouble passing this test. Even a driver without eye problems can be easily distracted by passing cars and other bright lights like shopping center neon signs. Plus, police officers LACK medical training, and even REGISTERED NURSES are not authorized to gather any medical symptoms or clues from these types of eye tracking procedures.
Usually, the next agility test the officer will want you to perform is the walk-and-turn, or WAT. Another name for this test is the heel-to-toe. You will be asked to stand still, and upon the officer’s command, start to step forward while placing heel-to-toe and walk a straight line for a certain number of paces.
Then, the officer will instruct you to turn around and walk back to the starting point. Any indication of being wobbly, not beginning when instructed, or stumbling can lead to the final test. Any two “errors” out of more than 76 possible places to “fail” by not precisely following the instructions is “an arrest decision” on the police matrix that is used.
This trained elephant is performing a one-leg stand, but can you imagine the number of times he TRIED this before being able to get it right? You are NOT allowed to “practice” the police officer’s test. Two “errors” out of over 122 possible glitches mean another “arrest decision.”
This exercise is one of the three scientifically researched standardized field sobriety tests “approved” by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that officers give on the roadside to help them decide whether to arrest you for DUI. The NHTSA published a manual claiming that trained officers using scores from all three tests will be able to achieve 91 percent accuracy in making their DUI arrests. THIS “statistic” IS A LIE that has been refuted by medical doctors and true scientists.
Dr. Spurgeon Cole, a Georgia forensic scientist (Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology) and consultant, has a long history of challenging the effectiveness of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s three field sobriety tests. Cole administered the tests to 21 of his students at Clemson University in South Carolina — none of whom had had a drop of alcohol — and showed the videotape of their performance to a group of officers, who reported they’d arrest nearly half the students.
“And these people had absolutely zero to drink,” Cole said in an interview. “These tests are absolutely worthless.” Dr. Cole, a trained expert in “testing and measurement,” has testified all over the United States about the lack of RELIABILITY for any of law enforcement’s standardized field evaluations.
In Atlanta, GA, which DUI attorney knows best how to fight a DUI 3rd offense by challenging field sobriety test performances? The answer is the Atlanta attorneys who have decades of experience in defeating field sobriety tests. Those Atlanta DUI lawyers are with the law firm William C. Head, PC.
Call 43-year veteran DUI attorney Atlanta Bubba Head today and get honest answers to all your questions. Tell us everything that happened and everything you remember about your DUI arrest. The sooner you call us, the better chance you will have to win your DUI case and get your charges reduced or dismissed.
Remember, you only have 30 DAYS to file a license suspension appeal or apply for an ignition interlock device, or your driver’s license will be suspended for up to one year! This important law cannot be extended or varied. THIRTY DAYS is the “drop-dead’ date.
Talk to Bubba Head, Larry Kohn, or Cory Yager now. ALL three partners have taken both the Student (Participant) and the Instructor course for NHTSA field sobriety test training.
Our DUI lawyers near me in the metro Atlanta Georgia area have unmatched legal industry recognition for any three-person law firm handling the defense of driving under the influence cases. Mr. Head has authored the leading treatise on Georgia DUI laws since 1995 and wrote his first book on how to beat a DUI in 1991. Both Cory Yager and Larry Kohn are now published authors in national legal publications, too.
Why not call us for your FREE lawyer consultation near me in Atlanta or the surrounding counties. Our criminal attorneys are available 24 hours a day, weekends, and all major holidays. (404) 567-5515