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Challenging a field sobriety test in Massachusetts

On Behalf of | Dec 28, 2021 | OUI/DWI |

Although sobriety tests are often used as evidence of drunk driving, they are not always fair. Given that OUI (operating under the influence) charges can have serious consequences, it is important to understand how you can challenge a sobriety test.

Flaws in the sobriety test

There are three ways police officers can determine whether or not a driver is OUI. These include the one-leg stand test, walk and turn test, Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test, which involves moving the eyes from side to side while tracking an object that moves back and forth in front of the eyes. OUI charges are typically based on whether or not an officer believes you failed these tests, so it is possible to argue on the basis of flaws in the test itself.

For example, if an officer asks you to perform the one-leg stand test, you can argue that you were unable to do so because of an existing injury. If the officer did not take this into account, your OUI charge could get dismissed.

Improper police conduct

If you believe that the officer who administered the sobriety test did not follow proper procedure, you can argue this in court. For example, if the officer did not wait long enough for you to fully complete the test, or if they spoke to you in a way that was intimidating, this could potentially get your OUI charge dismissed.

Lack of clear instructions

If you believe that the officer did not fully explain what you needed to do during your OUI sobriety test, it is possible to argue this in court. For example, if they failed to mention that you had to hold your foot in the air for a certain amount of time when completing the one-leg stand, this could help get your OUI charge dismissed.

Improper calibration of sobriety test equipment

If you can prove that the sobriety test equipment was not properly calibrated, it is possible to get your OUI charge dismissed. This can be difficult to do, but if successful, it could mean the difference between a conviction and having your charges dropped.

It is important to remember that there are specific requirements for sobriety tests and police conduct. So, if you believe that your OUI sobriety test was not conducted properly, it is possible to challenge this in court and get a desirable outcome.