A Former Prosecutor Defending Clients in Wyoming and South Dakota
Police often use Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) in a Wyoming DWUI stop to help assess whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating substance. The officer uses the Field Sobriety Tests to establish probable cause to continue with the investigation, and to determine whether the officer will ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test or arrest you for DWUI.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has identified three standardized tests that are considered to be accurate indicators of whether a driver has a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .1% or more (note that the legal limit in Wyoming is .08%):
During a Wyoming traffic stop for a suspected DWUI a police officer may ask you to perform one, two, or all three of these tests. During trainings, officers are taught to look for “clues” of impairment, such as poor focus, poor coordination, and difficulty completing the tasks.
The Field Sobriety Tests are scored based on the number of “clues” the officer observes. At trial, the officer will be prepared to testify whether you performed these tests “as demonstrated and instructed.” If you were unable to successfully perform the tests, the police officer can testify about this fact as evidence of your alleged intoxication.
In addition to the “standardized” Field Sobriety Tests, many police departments also use “non-standardized” tests. While these have not been approved by the NHTSA as reliable, police departments commonly use them as part of a DWUI investigation.
Non-standardized Field Sobriety Tests for a DWUI may include:
While police departments often use these non-standardized tests to assess a driver’s impairment, there is no NHTSA research indicating that they are reliable indicators of intoxication.
Without a proven relationship between the test and a driver’s level of intoxication or impairment, a skilled and experienced Wyoming DWUI defense attorney can challenge the results of the test, which can then be used to negotiate a better plea bargain, or to have the case against you thrown out.
If you have been charged with a DWUI in Wyoming, working with a team of skilled and experienced criminal defense professionals will give you a better chance of beating the charge.
During cross-examination of the police officer, your Wyoming DWUI defense attorney might question whether the officer is getting paid overtime for appearing in court. If the answer is yes, your attorney may be able to argue to the jury that the officer is making questionable arrests to pad his or her paycheck with overtime hours.
Another tactic often employed by a skilled criminal defense attorney is to attack the testing conditions. For example:
A good DWUI defense attorney can also question the cause of a condition the officer cited as a reason for suspected the defendant was under the influence. For example:
If you or someone you care about is facing charges for a Wyoming DWUI, it’s important that you have a team of skilled and experienced DWUI defense professionals on your side.
At The Law Office of Christina L. Williams, my team of DWUI defense professionals will work tirelessly to challenge the evidence, and protect your one shot at justice.
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.