When the police pull you over on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) in New Jersey, they will typically ask you to perform three field sobriety tests (FSTs). These are the one-leg stand test, the walk-and-turn test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.
Under New Jersey law, you are not required to take the field sobriety tests during a DUI traffic stop. Unlike a breath or blood test (which is covered under New Jersey’s “implied consent” law), you have the right to refuse the FSTs. But, what if you did not?
Defending Against a “Failed” Field Sobriety Test in New Jersey
If you consented to the field sobriety tests during your DUI traffic stop and “failed” one or more of the tests, you will need to find a way to fight your test results during your drunk driving case. While every case is unique, there are several potential defenses to failed field sobriety tests. For example, depending on the circumstances of your case, our lawyers may be able to assert defenses including:
- Improper Administration of the FSTs – There are strict protocols for administering the field sobriety tests during a DUI traffic stop. If your arresting officer did not follow these protocols, this could mean that your FST results are invalid.
- Inadequate Explanation of the FSTs – Before asking suspects to perform the field sobriety tests, police officers must clearly explain how they are to be performed. If you did not understand what you needed to do, this could also provide a defense in your New Jersey DUI case.
- Improper Determination of “Failure” – Did you actually “fail” one or more of the FSTs? It is not uncommon for police officers to misinterpret drivers’ performance on the tests. If your arresting officer made an improper determination of failure, this could also provide a defense.
- Underlying Medical Condition – Various medical conditions can cause individuals to struggle with the field sobriety tests. If a medical condition is to blame for your FST failure, your test results should not be used against you.
- Poor Lighting, Weather or Road Conditions – Poor lighting, poor weather, poor road conditions and various other factors can make it difficult (or impossible) to perform well on the field sobriety tests. If any of these factors were at play in your case, this could provide a defense as well.
These are not the only defenses you may have available. Also, keep in mind that the prosecutors may have other evidence against you (i.e., your blood alcohol concentration (BAC)). In order to avoid unnecessary consequences, you will need to challenge all of the prosecution’s evidence against you—and this requires experienced legal representation.
Talk to a New Jersey DUI Defense Lawyer About Your Case
Did you fail the field sobriety tests during your DUI traffic stop? To find out what a New Jersey DUI defense lawyer can do to protect you, call 877-435-6371 or request a confidential consultation online now.
Over 20 attorneys at HCK have extensive experience in defending DUI cases as they were former assistant prosecutors and/or police officers for a combined total of over 600 years of law enforcement experience. You can find out more about them on our site, and you can call Managing Partner Ron Helmer on his cell phone at 609 685-0665.