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The Imperfection of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

Standardized field sobriety tests are intended to establish that a driver is impaired without the use of a breathalyzer. When these tests are properly administrated and evaluated, they can produce fairly reliable evidence to suggest a driver's intoxication. However, these tests are not infallible, and it is entirely possible for a sober individual to fail one or more of these assessments.

If you have been arrested and charged with DUI, it is important that you work with an attorney who understands that field test results are not absolute proof of guilt. To help ensure that your legal rights are protected, contact the Seattle DUI defense lawyers of the Cowan Kirk Law Firm at 866-822-1230.

The Three Standardized Sobriety Tests

Television shows such as “Cops” have documented the implementation of standardized field sobriety tests, so most drivers have at least a passing familiarity with what they might expect in the event of a traffic stop initiated on suspicion of DUI. The three tests that are considered part of the standardized battery are:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) – a subject is asked to track a penlight by moving only the eyes, and the officer evaluates the angle at which a subject's eye begins to twitch involuntarily
  • Walk-and-Turn (WAT) – a subject is required to walk along a line with 9 steps heel-to-toe, then turn and repeat in the opposite direction while the office observes different behaviors
  • One-Leg Stand (OLS) – a subject must stand on one leg with the other raised approximately six inches while counting aloud, and failure to properly execute the task is an indication of possible intoxication

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The validity of these sobriety tests does not surpass ninety percent, and that is if it is administered and observed exactly as intended. Contact the Seattle DUI defense lawyers of the Cowan Kirk Law Firm at 866-822-1230 to discuss the facts of your case with an experienced attorney.

Cowan Kirk Kattenhorn

Cowan Kirk is known throughout Washington and the nation for representing all of its clients with commitment, creativity and compassion. We recognize how devastating a DUI charge can be, particularly when our clients learn how incredibly tough Washington's DUI laws have become, even for a first-time offender.

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If you need a DUI defense attorney in Seattle, Bellevue, or King County, contact us today to find out why respect for our clients, a passion for justice, and our commitment to winning have earned each of us the highest honor a member of the bar can receive from our colleagues – their referrals.