Police officers charge thousands of motorists with DUI every year. First, they pull over the vehicle for some underlying traffic offense or at a roadside sobriety checkpoint. If the officer suspects the driver of being under the influence, the officer will usually ask the driver to submit to some field sobriety tests. The officer may have several tests they want the driver to do...like say their ABCs. However, there are only three validated field sobriety tests. These are the horizontal gaze nystagmus HGN test, the walk and turn test, and the one leg stand. The officers are trained in how to administer these tests, however, that does not mean the officers properly conduct the tests.
Additionally, the officer's assessment of whether the driver passes is subjective. The horizontal gaze nystagmus test is a test of the involuntary jerking of the eyes. The walk and turn has the driver take steps along a real or imaginary line and turn around. The one leg stand has the driver stand on one foot while the officer times 30 seconds. Atlanta DUI attorney Richard Lawson has been trained in the proper administration of these field sobriety tests. He can read the police report, watch the police cruiser video, and cross examine the officer as to the techniques the officer utilized. Mr. Lawson has been very successful in impeaching the officer.
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