Understanding Colorado DUI Field Sobriety Tests

In Colorado, if you’re pulled over with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher you could be arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI). As in most states, being charged with DUI in Colorado is a serious offense. If convicted, you could face heavy fines, the loss of your driver’s license and in some cases even jail time. If you’ve been drinking, it’s always best to call a friend, a taxi, Uber or Lyft for a ride home and avoid jeopardizing your future by getting behind the wheel.

What is a Field Sobriety Test?

It’s common for officers to use field sobriety tests (FST) in Colorado to determine whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The three field sobriety tests used most often include:

  • Walk and turn (WAT). In this test the officer will ask you to take nine heel-to-toe steps forward while counting out loud, turn, and then take nine steps backward. The test is designed to see if you can follow instructions and divide your attention between multiple tasks.
  • The one-leg stand (OLS). Also a divide your attention test, you will be asked to balance on one foot and count out loud. The officer will look for signs of intoxication, such as swaying, losing count, or the inability to balance for 30 seconds.
  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN). The officer will instruct you to follow the movement of a stimulus such as the tip of a pen with your eyes only. If you’re unable to track the stimulus smoothly, or your eyes show sustained jerking when you gaze to the side, the officer may suspect that you are under the influence and administer further tests.

It’s important to remember that unless you have been arrested, field sobriety tests are optional. If you don’t wish to submit to a field sobriety test, it is completely within your rights to politely decline.

How to Challenge a Field Sobriety Test in Court

Even under perfect conditions, field sobriety tests are not 100% accurate. There are a variety of factors besides intoxication that could cause you to fail one of these tests. Your weight, an injury, poor lighting, being on prescription drugs, or a poorly trained police officer are just a few of the many factors that can skew the results of an FST.

Contact a Skilled Adams County DUI Defense Attorney Today

When you are charged with DUI in Colorado, your reputation, your relationships and in some cases even your job are at stake. At the Law Office of John A. Anderson, Jr., LLC, we have extensive experience working with clients who have been charged with DUIs and can provide you with comprehensive legal support during this challenging time. Contact Adams County DUI attorney John Anderson today to discuss your legal needs in detail by calling (303) 880-7994 for a consultation.