Lake County DUI Defense Lawyer
Field Sobriety Test Administration in Illinois
The accuracy of standardized field sobriety tests—as well as the ability of police officers to properly administer and interpret the results of the tests—has come under a considerable amount of scrutiny recently. In fact, in one study, individuals who were completely sober were videotaped performing the standardized field sobriety tests. Police officers were later asked to view those videos and pick which individuals they thought were inebriated. The officers believed a full 46 percent of the sober individuals were impaired.
If you have been charged with DUI, based even in part on your results of field sobriety tests, it is important that you speak to an experienced Northbrook DUI attorney as soon as possible. Attorney Matthew R. Gebhardt has been helping people just like you for over a decade; he understands the embarrassment, anxiety and fear you may be feeling and has a solid track record of obtaining positive results.
Does Illinois Law Require You to Take Field Sobriety Tests?
The state of Illinois does not require you to take the tests, and you may be better off refusing. Be aware that in some cases a police office may try to “trick” you into taking the tests by suggesting you can get back in your car and be on your way if you do so—and that you will be arrested if you don’t. In truth, you are likely to be arrested either way, and it may be more beneficial to refuse the field sobriety tests and politely request an attorney.
Which Field Sobriety Tests are Administered in the Chicago Suburbs?
Most law enforcement officers use three primary tests to measure sobriety: the One Leg Stand, the Walk and Turn and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. If the officer is requesting you perform the One Leg Stand, he or she will first issue instructions for the test. You will be instructed to lift one leg off the ground a few inches, keeping your leg level. As you attempt to keep your leg level, you must count slowly from one to thirty. The problem with this test is that many people simply have poor balance, and cannot perform the One Leg Stand under ideal circumstances, while totally sober.
The Walk and Turn test can also be difficult, particularly for a person who is nervous and scared, and who is performing the test on the side of the road which is likely uneven and rocky. The “scoring” of the Walk and Turn, the One Leg Stand and the Nystagmus test are highly subjective, and may be based—at least in part—on how the officer happens to be feeling at the moment.
Other Issues Which Can Alter Results of Field Sobriety Tests
Age, weight and even gender can contribute to your ability to complete the field sobriety tests in a successful manner. Women may be wearing higher-heeled shoes which make performing the tests more difficult, and those with prior medical conditions, an illness, a prior head injury, a physical or mental disability, or those taking prescription medications could all be at a distinct disadvantage when asked to take Illinois field sobriety tests.
Defenses Your DUI Attorney May Employ on Your Behalf
If you agreed to take the field sobriety tests, your attorney may petition to have the results of those tests excluded, based on any number of mitigating factors. Attorney Matthew R. Gebhardt has over 15 years’ experience representing clients just like you. He understands the importance of covering all bases and will work aggressively to refute the accuracy of your field sobriety tests. If you refused to take the field sobriety tests, our Skokie DUI attorney can argue that you were only exercising the rights of an innocent person. Contact the Law Offices of Matthew R. Gebhardt, P.C. at 773-898-8745 or 847-239-4703 today for a free consultation.