If you’ve been stopped for a DUI in Nevada, you may be asked to perform field sobriety tests (FSTs). But do you have to take them? In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of FSTs in Las Vegas DUI cases and provide you with important information about your rights and what to expect.

Field Sobriety Tests in Las Vegas DUI Cases

Am I Required to Take Field Sobriety Tests?

No, you are not legally obligated to take FSTs in Nevada, despite what the police may claim. You have the right to politely decline to perform these tests. However, it’s important to note that refusing the tests may lead to your arrest, as law enforcement may interpret it as a consciousness of guilt. It’s crucial to consult with an experienced DUI attorney from ATAC LAW who can navigate the complexities of your case.

Are FSTs Scientifically Valid?

The accuracy rates of FSTs in determining impairment are significantly low. Shockingly, one out of four people who fail FSTs is not actually under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) developed these tests, but their reliability remains questionable. Various external factors can cause false positives, such as poor testing conditions, adverse physical or medical conditions, and officer misconduct.

How Can My Attorney Attack FSTs in Court?

At ATAC LAW, our attorneys have successfully defended numerous clients accused of drunk driving in Nevada. We rely on four main strategies to challenge FST results:

  1. FSTs are unreliable: We can argue that FSTs are not a reliable indicator of impairment due to their low accuracy rates.
  2. Improper setting: If the testing conditions were unfavorable, such as uneven surfaces, inclement weather, or disruptive distractions, we can argue that the results may be compromised.
  3. Physical condition causing false positives: If you had any physical conditions, such as fatigue, anxiety, inner ear problems, or prescribed medication that may hinder coordination, we can argue that these factors influenced your performance on the FSTs.
  4. Police mistakes: We thoroughly analyze the procedures followed by law enforcement during the administration of FSTs. Any mistakes made by the police officers can potentially weaken the prosecution’s case.

What Are the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests in Nevada?

Nevada’s standardized FSTs consist of the following three tests:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus – An eye test where you follow an object as the officer moves it, assessing for involuntary jerking, indicating impairment.
  • Walk and Turn – A physical agility and coordination test where you walk heel-to-toe in a straight line and perform other instructed tasks.
  • One-Legged Stand – A test where you stand on one leg while keeping the other leg extended, maintaining balance and counting aloud.

It’s important to remember that exhibiting clues during these tests does not automatically indicate impairment. False positives can occur due to various external factors and physical conditions.

What Happens Before and After the FSTs?

Once a law enforcement officer pulls you over for a traffic stop on suspicion of DUI, they may ask you to perform FSTs after preliminary cognitive tests. If you do not pass the FSTs, the officer may request a preliminary breath test (PBT) to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC). Depending on the results and surrounding circumstances, the officer may then decide to make a DUI arrest.

If you do pass the FSTs, you may be released at the scene. However, it’s important to note that the decision to arrest for DUI ultimately lies with the police officer based on their discretion.

Understanding your rights when it comes to field sobriety tests in Las Vegas DUI cases is crucial. While you have the option to decline these tests, it may have implications for your arrest. The accuracy and reliability of FSTs have been questioned, and various factors can lead to false positives.

To protect your rights and navigate the complexities of DUI cases, it is essential to seek the guidance of an experienced DUI attorney from ATAC LAW. Contact us today for a consultation.

Legal References:

  1. Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) – Section 484C.160(2)

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