COLORADO FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious crime in Colorado, and a conviction can have severe consequences, such as hefty fines, license suspension, and even jail time. If you have been pulled over and charged with a DUI, the prosecution will likely use field sobriety tests (FSTs) as evidence against you. However, these tests are not infallible, and there are ways to challenge their results.
This article will explore the art of challenging Colorado DUI field sobriety tests. We will discuss the different types of FSTs used in Colorado, the factors affecting their accuracy, and the legal strategies you can use to challenge them.
Types of Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) used in Colorado:
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has standardized three FSTs that law enforcement officers can use to determine whether a driver is impaired:
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test: This test involves tracking an object (such as a pen or flashlight) with your eyes while keeping your head still. The officer will look for involuntary jerking or bouncing of the eye, which can indicate impairment.
Walk and Turn (WAT) Test: In this test, the officer will ask you to walk nine steps in a straight line, turn around, and walk back. The officer will look for specific indicators of impairment, such as using your arms to balance or stepping off the line.
One-Leg Stand (OLS) Test requires you to stand on one leg while counting out loud. The officer will look for indicators of impairment, such as swaying or hopping, to maintain balance.
Factors That Affect Accuracy Of FST’s
FSTs are not foolproof, and their results can be affected by various factors, such as:
- Medical conditions or injuries that can affect your balance or coordination
- Environmental factors, such as uneven pavement, wind, or cold weather
- Footwear or clothing that can hinder your ability to perform the test
- Anxiety, nervousness, or stress can affect your performance
- Language barriers or cultural differences can hinder your understanding of the instructions
Challenging Colorado DUI Field Sobriety Tests:
If you have been charged with a DUI in Colorado based on FSTs, you have the right to challenge the accuracy and reliability of these tests. Here are some legal strategies you can use to challenge Colorado DUI field sobriety tests:
Challenge the officer’s observations: The officer’s subjective observations and interpretations of your performance on FSTs can be challenged. For example, the officer may have misinterpreted a medical condition or an environmental factor as a sign of impairment.
Challenge the test administration: The officer must follow specific standardized procedures when administering FSTs, such as providing clear instructions, demonstrating the test, and timing his performance. If the officer deviates from these procedures, it can affect the validity of the test.
Challenge the accuracy of the test itself: FSTs are not infallible, and their results can be affected by various factors. You can challenge the accuracy of FSTs by presenting evidence that contradicts their results, such as medical records, witness statements, or video footage.
Field Sobriety Test FAQs:
Q: Can I refuse to take a field sobriety test in Colorado?
A: You can refuse to take a field sobriety test in Colorado. However, Colorado has an implied consent law, which means that if you refuse to take a chemical test (such as a breathalyzer or blood test), your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for one year.
Q: Can I challenge the results of a chemical test?
A: Yes, you can challenge the results of a chemical test. However, chemical tests are generally considered more reliable than FSTs, so challenging them can be more difficult. You can challenge the accuracy of a chemical test by presenting evidence that the test was administered improperly or that the equipment was faulty or poorly maintained.
Q: Should I hire a DUI attorney to challenge FSTs?
A: Hiring a DUI attorney is highly recommended to challenge FSTs. A reasonable DUI attorney can significantly increase your chances of a successful defense. DUI attorneys have the experience and knowledge to identify the prosecution’s case’s weaknesses and develop effective legal strategies to challenge the evidence against you.
In conclusion, challenging Colorado DUI field sobriety tests can be complex and frustrating, but it is essential if you want to defend yourself against a DUI charge. By understanding the different types of FSTs, the factors that can affect their accuracy, and the legal strategies you can use to challenge them, you can increase your chances of a successful defense. If you have been charged with a DUI in Colorado, don’t hesitate to seek the advice of a qualified DUI attorney. They can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights.