In Fort Myers and throughout the state, when you are pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, or drugs, several tests are used to determine whether or not you should be charged for DUI. The field sobriety test is used together with a breathalyzer test, which measures your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and sometimes a blood sample will be drawn which will be tested in a laboratory.
The officer's own observations of the accused are also used as evidence in a DUI case. There are many rules and regulations which the state is required to follow when conducting the sobriety tests. The testing methods used must be approved by law, and those conducting the tests must follow certain protocols.
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If you have been accused of DUI and test results are being used to prove your guilt, don't just assume the evidence is correct, or that it can even be used against you in a court of law. Many cases of DUI turn on whether the evidence being used by the prosecution is admissible at trial.
All of the following are mediums that could be responsible for errors during the process:
- Labs which test and store samples
- Police officers administering the tests at the scene of a traffic stop
- Hospitals who may draw blood samples from an accused
An officer can also make mistakes which could render his testimony unreliable such as when recounting what he observed before or during a traffic stop. When these mistakes happen, there is a very good chance that evidence can be thrown out of court, often resulting in your charges being dismissed.
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The field sobriety test is commonly used by police officers to determine whether a suspect is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Some of the common tests include:
- Walk and turn test
- One-leg stand
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus
These tests are not infallible. The familiar Finger-to-Nose Test, Romberg Alphabet Test, and the Counting Test are also used when a person has physical ailments which may prevent them from walking or standing on one leg. But these tests are not very accurate in determining whether someone is intoxicated.
The Florida basic recruit training program materials show that laboratory testing results were that the HGN by itself was only 77% accurate, the walk and turn was only 68% accurate, and the one leg stand was only 65% accurate! The point is, there is much room for debate about the accuracy of a field sobriety tests.
The breath test is where a breathalyzer is used to measure your blood alcohol concentration level. There are many procedures which all officers or medical personnel must follow when administering a breath test for alcohol. Mistakes are often made in the maintenance and calibration of the breathalyzer device itself, and your chance of having the breathalyzer test result being thrown out as inadmissible greatly improves.
Blood tests will also be used in certain cases to determine whether the breath test was accurate or if other drugs are present in a person's system. Just as tests which have a myriad of rules and regulations that must be followed if the evidence collected is to be admissible in your case.
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Don't delay in talking to an experienced and successful attorney if you have been charged with DUI. Being convicted of DUI can drastically change how, or even if, you work. It will also raise your insurance rates, and result in fines and court costs. If you are ever convicted more than once, the penalties, fines and jail time only get more severe. Sobriety tests all have faults, none of them are perfect. At Calvo & Calvo, Attorneys At Law, we are experienced and know what it takes to defend your rights.
Call us to schedule a consultation so we can review your case with you as soon as possible.
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