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Field Sobriety Tests

Police in Iowa is vigilant when it comes to identifying drivers who may be intoxicated, whether it’s with alcohol or drugs. As part of the process of assessing to issue an Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) ticket, police officers typically administer field sobriety tests.

The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives you the right to not incriminate yourself. As such, you have a right to refuse to submit to a field sobriety test. Refusing to a field sobriety test or a chemical test can lead to harsher consequences. We can represent your case if you refused a field sobriety test.

If you do agree to a field sobriety test, you should be aware that the police have various tests they can administer to guess if you are too intoxicated to drive. Knowing your rights during a field sobriety test can help protect your reputation and future, possibly showing misconduct on the part of the officer who performed the field sobriety tests.

The attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. have nearly 50 years of combined experience representing clients charged with an OWI. Our experience can be used to build a tough defense for your case while exposing holes in the prosecutor’s allegations. As experienced drunk driving defense attorneys, we will challenge any evidence that is used against you and fight for a not-guilty verdict. Call us at (515)279-9700 to set up a free consultation.

We represent those facing OWI charges throughout the Des Moines area, including in West Des Moines, Urbandale, Johnston, and anywhere in Polk County or Dallas County. We may also represent clients all over Iowa charged with serious criminal traffic offenses such as OWI, reckless driving, driving on a suspended license, and fleeing to elude.

Field Sobriety Test Defense Attorneys in Des Moines, Iowa

For any highway patrol officer to pull you over, he or she must have probable cause. Field sobriety tests are also notorious for being unreliable when it comes to conclusively proving if a driver is intoxicated and incapable of driving safely. Having experienced attorneys who know which field sobriety tests hold up in court and which ones can be considered inadmissible can help to keep questionable evidence presented against you from being used in court. Our attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. can fight to dismiss field sobriety tests that are not approved by the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration.

Call us now at (515) 279-9700 to set up your first consultation.

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Field Sobriety Test Types

Here are the following field sobriety tests that are standardized by the NHSTA.

One-Leg Stand Test: In this test, a police officer asks the driver to stand on one foot and raise the other foot by about six inches off of the ground. The driver then counts by thousands for 30 seconds. Any movement like hopping, swaying, or putting your foot down, the officer may have probable cause for an arrest. Using your arms for balance and being unable to perform the test can also be argued as probable cause for an arrest.

Walk-and-Turn Test: The driver is instructed to take nine heel-to-toe steps in a straight line. The driver then has to turn on one foot and walk in the same manner back to his or her starting point. Police will watch to see if you lose your balance, fail to touch heel-to-toe, start before the instructions are finished, fail to walk in a straight line, or use your arms for balance. People who have difficulty with coordination may have a problem performing such an intricate task while sober. If the police say you failed this test, we can challenge the validity that the test is effective at proving how intoxicated a driver truly was at the time.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: This test involves an officer holding an object for the driver to focus on like a pen or finger. The object is held about a foot away from the driver’s face, just above eye level. The officer then moves the object to the left and right. The driver is instructed to follow the object with his or her eyes without moving their head. Difficulty following the pen and moving your head could be argued as probable cause for arrest by the police.

However, numerous factors can throw the driver off during the test. Passing cars, loud noises, medical conditions, and poor overall coordination can cast doubt on the validity of an HGN.

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 Field Sobriety Test Attorneys in Polk County, IA

If you submitted to a field sobriety test and are facing an OWI charge, an experienced Des Moines DUI attorney can help you fight the charges. At McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C., we represent clients accused of drunk driving no matter the circumstances and vigorously fight for them. We can challenge evidence or demand a dismissal. Contact us today at (515)279-9700 for a free consultation about for field sobriety test.


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