A Former Prosecutor Defending Clients in Wyoming and South Dakota

Can a Wyoming DWUI Defense Lawyer Challenge the Results of Field Sobriety Tests?

If you’ve been arrested and charged with Driving While Under the Influence (DWUI) of alcohol or drugs in Wyoming, you have the best chance of getting the charges reduced or even dropped by hiring a skilled and experienced Wyoming DWUI defense attorney.

It’s important that you act quickly. Many important deadlines occur shortly after an arrest for DWUI. Most critically, you probably received a temporary license that is good for 30 days. But you only have 20 days to challenge the Administrative Per Se License Suspension.

How a DWUI Defense Lawyer Can Help

When you're considering hiring an attorney, you may be wondering whether a Wyoming DWUI defense lawyer can challenge the evidence against you. In fact, if you look at the police report, it may appear that the evidence against you is pretty strong. But is it, really? At The Law Office of Christina L. Williams, my team of experienced DWUI defense professionals will work hard to cast doubt on evidence against you, and to convince the prosecutor to reduce the charges, or even drop the case altogether.

But first, we must consider what evidence the State will present to try to convict you of a Wyoming DWUI.

When you were stopped, the officer must have had probable cause to believe that you were under the influence of alcohol. He or she asked you to perform various Field Sobriety Tests, or FSTs, to assess whether you were intoxicated. The FSTs include some combination of the following:

  • Walk a straight line
  • Recite the alphabet
  • Count backwards
  • Horizontal nystagmus gaze test
  • Walk and turn
  • Stand on one leg

At trial, your attorney can challenge the results of these tests and how they were administered.

How to Challenge the Results of Field Sobriety Tests

Did the Officer Follow NHTSA Guidelines?

To be admissible, each test must be administered in accordance with the guidelines set by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). If the officer did not follow NHTSA guidelines, that is grounds to challenge the results of the test, or even have evidence of your performance on the test excluded.

Were the Testing Conditions Appropriate?

Your Wyoming DWUI defense attorney can challenge the testing conditions. For example – was the testing area sloped? According to the NHTSA, the FSTs are to be performed on level ground. Of course, very few highways are completely level. Your DWUI defense attorney can exploit this fact at trial to cast doubt on whether the results of the test are accurate.

Was it Alcohol or Some Other Factor?

It is unlikely that the police officer had a baseline with which to compare your performance on the FSTs. The officer never saw you perform the test other than the time he or she believed you were under the influence of alcohol. Therefore, there is no way to know whether your performance on the tests was due to alcohol consumption, or some other factor.

Other explanations for “not performing the test as explained and demonstrated” could be fatigue, a general lack of coordination, or stress. At trial, a good DWUI defense attorney can highlight these discrepancies through a thorough cross examination of the police officer who arrested you.

The police officer will probably testify that you had bloodshot eyes. This condition could be due to any number of factors other than alcohol consumption, including fatigue, allergies, smog, or contact lenses.

If you suffer from a mental or physical condition it may be difficult for an officer to determine whether you were intoxicated. For example, an ear infection or damage to the ear can make it difficult for you to complete the balance portions of the FSTs. Likewise, if you suffer from a neurological injury, the results of the horizontal nystagmus gaze test could be unreliable. And muscular or skeletal disorders involving the feet, legs, or spine can make completing the FSTs difficult, and the results unreliable

Were the Tests Properly Explained?

Many police officers explain the tests quickly, without giving a suspect adequate time to fully understand what is expected of them. Your DWUI defense lawyer can bring out this short-coming on cross examination.

An “Odor of Alcohol”?

The officer probably noted in the police report and will likely testify that there was an “odor of alcohol” coming from the vehicle. In fact, pure alcohol is nearly odorless. In the hands of a skilled DWUI defense attorney, this fact can be exploited on cross-examination to make the case that you were not under the influence of alcohol.

Charged with DWUI in Wyoming? Contact The Law Office of Christina L. Williams Today

If you’re facing DWUI charges in Wyoming, contact The Law Office of Christina L. Williams today. My team of DWUI defense professionals is waiting to assist you in getting your one shot at justice. But act quickly – there are important filing deadlines you do not want to miss.

Contact us today by calling 307-686-6556, emailing office@williams-criminallaw.com, or completing our online form.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is offered for educational purposes only. This information is not offered as legal advice. A person accused of a crime should always consult with an attorney before making decisions that have legal consequences.

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