New Jersey DWI Defense Update: Are Field Sobriety Tests Really Useful in Determining Driver Impairment?

For those who have recently been arrested and charged with a drunken driving offense, you may be asking yourself, what can I possibly do to lessen or even avoid the penalties associated with a DWI conviction? As New Jersey drunk driving defense attorneys, the legal team at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall understands your concerns. Surely, with a summons in hand and a police officer most likely ready to testify as to a driver’s impairment, what chances does the average motorist have against the system?

First of all, it is important never to assume that nothing can be done to remedy the situation in which you now find yourself. Next, do some research and find a qualified DWI defense lawyer who can speak from experience and give you the straight facts on drunk driving arrests and discuss the options specific to your impaired driving case. While there are no guarantees in this life, the law was created to help people fight charges levied against them by the state. You do have rights.

Many people facing similar situations have asked themselves, Why should I get a lawyer when the odds seem stacked against me? We can’t speak for every attorney out there, but if our law firm decides to take on the defense of your case, it is because we believe that your situation can be improved; this is typically done by examining all the relevant facts, police records and legal information pertaining to your DWI traffic stop.

A large number of motorists, when suspected of DWI or DUI, will be asked to perform a field sobriety test at the scene of the traffic stop. Taking one or more of these standardized tests can be challenging even to the most sober individuals, especially under stressful and embarrassing conditions. This is why there has been much debate as to the accuracy of some field sobriety tests. In fact, some experts believe that these tests are anything but accurate when used to determine a driver’s level of impairment due to alleged alcohol consumption or drug use.

That said, it may be understandable why many potential clients decide to challenge the state’s assertion that they were drunk at the time of their arrest. With DWI and drug DUI penalties as stiff as they are here in the Garden State, many an accused drunk driver feels that there is a real benefit to retaining a drunken driving defense attorney and fighting the charges.

Of course, thousands of motorists who are stopped on New Jersey roadways every year are slapped with charges of driving under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs, even illegal substances such as weed and cocaine. Record show that during 2011, more than 26,000 driver where charged with intoxicated driving. It’s not surprising that a percentage of these individuals would rather fight the charges than simply plead guilty to DWI or drug DUI.

One of the pieces of evidence that that state uses to justify an arrest for drunk driving is the results of the standardized field sobriety tests administered by police officers everyday across New Jersey. But if you or your attorney believes that the results of that sobriety test were faulty, then it is possible to argue that a false arrest was made. In fact, it has been argued by more than a few lawyers in municipal courts all around the state that a field sobriety test(s) administered in a faulty manner can indeed result in an improper or unwarranted arrest.

Because some people suffer from certain physical limitations or medical conditions, it is very possible that for those individuals the results of some of the standardized field sobriety tests can be erroneous, or at the very least misleading. For a police officer to act on faulty test results and arrest the individual for being intoxicated, the defense attorney may be able to challenge that evidence and perhaps have it thrown out by the court.

It has been shown that people with balance problems or cognitive issues can have a very difficult time when asked to balance on one leg. The same can be said for the field sobriety test that requires the subject to walk heal-to-toe in a straight line without falling over or losing one’s balance. It is not uncommon for a completely sober person who suffers from natural balance issues to fail such a test. Some experts argue that these kinds of sobriety tests are actually designed to fail despite how well a person performs them.

The DWI attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have a great deal of experience in defending these types of cases. We are prepared to appear in courtrooms all around New Jersey to defend those accused of alcohol- and drug-related DUI offenses, as well as possession of controlled dangerous substances (CDSs) in a motor vehicle.

If there is legitimate proof of intoxication, whether by blood or breath test, or if the charges include multiple DWIs, our attorneys will discuss a client’s options regarding license suspension and other penalties. If you have been arrested or received a summons for DWI-DUI it is important not make any statements to the police. If charges have been filed, contact us toll free at (877) 450-8301 to arrange a free consultation.