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Colorado Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Attorneys

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Boulder Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Attorneys

Roadside Sobriety Tests


Roadside Sobriety Tests

Three standardized tests approved for use by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are typically used by officers investigating Colorado DUI cases. Collectively most people simply refer to these tests as “Roadside Sobriety Tests’ (“RST” or “Roadsides”). The NHSTA approved battery of Roadsides include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, the Walking and Turning test and the One Leg Stand all of which are described more completely here.

When writing up your summary of what happened remember to include all you can recall about the Roadsides starting with how they were requested. Were you truly given a choice? Your DUI attorney will want to consider whether your consent to these tests was voluntary and explore whether the officer complied with the NHSTA guidelines and instructions for administering these tests. This same review also applies to expanded DUI tests sometimes performed by officers certified as drug recognition experts or DRE’s.

Medical conditions can invalidate Roadsides as measures of intoxication or impairment that officers use to justify a DUI arrest. These include optometric problems, such as Amblyopia or Lazy Eye, Convergence/Divergence Disorder, Binocular Disorders and wearing hard contact lenses.

Do you have a history of orthopedic injuries that may affect your ability to perform balancing tests? Have you had past closed head injuries, concussions or loss of consciousness from trauma including high school sports, skiing, snowboarding and work place or motor vehicle accidents? Any of these circumstances can create false “clues” that officers interpret as signs of impairment or intoxication during a DUI investigation. Medical records reviews, consultation with a toxicologist and other professionals may lead to possible defenses related to established medical conditions such as:

  • Gastric Reflux Disease or GERD
  • Diabetes, Hypo-glycaemia or other blood sugar disorders
  • Dental issues, including caps, cracks, gum issues and cavities that may contribute to mouth alcohol issues
  • Any medical conditions and/or drug interactions that may give rise to a defense of involuntary intoxication

Roadsides may also include the administration of a portable DUI breath test, the result of which is not admissible at trial but which can be used to support an officer’s determination of probable cause to arrest.

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