Field Sobriety Tests

DUI Defense Attorney

DUI Defense Attorney

Virginia Law:

There are several steps to a Drunk Driving charge. Usually, they will being with the establishment of “reasonable suspicion.” Miller v. Commonwealth 16 Va. App. 977, 980, 434 S.E.2d 897, 899 (1993) Reasonable suspicion is what the officer must have in order to lawfully stop a United States Citizen and charge them with a crime. Essentially, the officer must utilize a series of factors to determine if the suspected individual can be stopped. If you have been stopped for a DUI, you should call me, I am a DUI Defense Attorney.

Reasonable suspicion is typically established by a “moving violation.” A moving violation is basically operating your vehicle in a manner with which you could get a ticket for doing so. This is usually how the government will try to establish reasonable suspicion to stop. That however does not establish probable cause. Probable cause is what the government must have in order to lawfully detain an United States citizen and citizen of the commonwealth.

The Standards of “reasonable suspicion” and “probable cause” are important standards. These legal standards are vital to the operation of rule of law. Currently, the powers that be are seeking to blur the lines of legal analysis. If you have received a Drunk Driving Charge in Virginia, you should call me for a free consultation. I am a Lynchburg DUI defense Attorney.

Field Sobriety Test:

The field sobriety test is the step in a Drunk Driving investigation where the government officer will seek to have the suspected get out of the vehicle and do a series of “exercises.” These exercises may or may not be proper. For example, many people with health issues may not be able to perform the tests even after not have consumed one drop of alcohol.

The Sobriety “exercises” or “cues”:

  1. Alcohol Gaze Nystagmus.
  2. Walk-and-Turn.
  3. Romberg (Balance).
  4. Finger-to-Nose.
  5. One-leg-stand.
  6. Finger Count.
  7. Tongue Twisters.
  8. Subtraction, Addition, Count Backwards.
  9. Tapping Rate.
  10. Letter Cancellation.
  11. Grip Strength.
  12. Coin Pick-up.
  13. Two-Point Tactile Discrimination.
  14. Color Naming (Attention Diagnostic Method, modified).
  15. Serial Performances.


What the literature proclaims is that a government officer can tell the level of intoxication of a suspect mathematically based on how they perform on these exercises. This is a fallacy, but for the simple fact that calculable decisions to arrest must not pertain to the hubris of government actors.

Another issue is the fact that "It is a matter of common knowledge based on human experience that outward manifestations of intoxication will vary from individual to individual. While one highly intoxicated individual may exhibit few, if any, outward manifestations of intoxication, another individual may appear to be very intoxicated after consuming a small quantity of alcohol. Thus, a determination whether a person was "under the influence of alcohol," even when aided  by statutory presumption, cannot be reduced to a readily usable mathematical or objective formula. Rather, that determination must be based upon the totality of the evidence."  Davis v. Commonwealth (1989)

Blood Alcohol Content

Markedly, there are numerous likely holes in a DUI field sobriety test. Although, these become where an accused can leverage the evidence to obtain the most favorable outcome. Notwithstanding, "there is no mandatory presumption of intoxication at any BAC in Virginia." Yap v. Commonwealth (2007)

A field sobriety test has numerous areas for a well-trained DUI defense lawyer to attack. For example:

  1. Was the test conducted on level ground.
  2. Was the test conducted next to a busy highway with semi-trucks flying by.
  3. Was the test conducted in a way that was improper.

Field Sobriety tests first began decades ago and most of the data used to justify their use is out of date. An accused in a Drunk Driving case can have several avenues to attack a field sobriety test and the above is not all inclusive. If you have been charged with drunk driving, you should call me for a free consultation (434) 660-9701. I am a Lynchburg DUI Defense Attorney.

Other Factors:

Notwithstanding, the Virgnia Supreme Court has ruled that the mere odor of alcohol on a person's breath without more is insufficient to establish either intoxication or lack of control. Hemming v. Hutchinson (1981); Hoffner v. Kreh (1984)

Police are not calculable machines that can legally justify certain conduct based on their own hubris. The “I can read people” conundrum that some law enforcement will attempt to exercise. This is an important understanding to recognize because many will believe that and violate standards of constitutional law. Constitutional Law is what separates us from the animals.

A proper cross examination of the government officer can often reveal certain holes in the governments case. For example, some officers will attempt to justify an arrest for DUI based on Nystagmus. Nystagmus is the “eye twitch” test. This is not proper because, police officers are not ophthalmologists. There are eighty-six different types of Nystagmus or causes for an eye twitch and most do not involve impairment.  Even a sober person can have their eyes twitch based on basic officer induced fatigue.

In any event, It is unlikely that complex human performance, such as that required to safely drive an automobile, can be measured at roadside…The link between BAC and driving impairment is a separate issue, involving entirely different research methods. This is because the analysis pertaining to Davis v. Commonwealth is a fact that we do not all react to or are subjected to the same circumstances with each level of conduct.

Free Attorney Consultations (434) 660-9701

In any event, if you have been charged with Drunk Driving, you should call me for a free consultation (434) 660-9701. I have experience representing clients for Drunk Driving charges and specialize in DUI cases. A DUI charge can come with license suspension, fines and even jail time. I can provide a free consultation of your case as a DUI Defense Attorney. If you decide to retain me for your DUI case I will examine the evidence, advise you on the likely outcome and we can discuss the best course of action. It is one hundred percent the clients choice on what to do regarding a case and how they would like to proceed. My goal in all representation is the best interest of the client.

Chris White Lawyer, LLC. is a Lynchburg, Virginia Law Firm available for free consultations in person, via Facetime, Skype, Zoom or phone (434) 660-9701. Please also check out my practice areas in Criminal Defense Attorney and Car Accident Lawyer. At my Law Firm we focus on the best result for the client. To stay connected I have a Youtube ChannelInstagramFacebookTwitterLinkedIn, TumblrBlogger
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Chris White lawyer, LLC
Cellphone: (434) 660-9701
Available with appointment (434) 660-9701:
700 12th St, Lynchburg, VA 24504
Available with appointment (434) 660-9701:
100 Tradewynd Dr. Lynchburg, VA 24502
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