Fighting Field Sobriety Tests in Wisconsin OWI Cases

Fighting Field Sobriety Tests in Wisconsin OWI Cases

Fighting Field Sobriety Tests in Wisconsin OWI Cases

One of the pivotal moments in an OWI arrest in Wisconsin hinges on the results of field sobriety tests (FSTs). It’s a common misconception that these tests are straightforward and solely based on one’s ability to perform simple tasks. However, the reality is far more complex, and the subjectivity involved in assessing performance on these tests makes challenging them a crucial aspect of an aggressive OWI defense strategy.

Understanding Standard Field Sobriety Tests

In Wisconsin, there are three standard FSTs commonly employed during an OWI stop:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN): This test involves tracking an object with the eyes to identify involuntary jerking, which could suggest impairment.
  • Walk and Turn: A test assessing the ability to walk in a straight line and turn on one foot—a task that examines balance, attention, and ability to follow directions.
  • One Leg Stand: Standing on one leg for a specified period is intended to evaluate balance and concentration.

Officers use these tests to look for specific “clues” of impairment, requiring a certain number before deeming there’s probable cause for an arrest. The inherent subjectivity of these assessments can unfairly prejudice against individuals, making the defense’s challenge critical.

Challenging FSTs in Court

HGN Test Challenges: The HGN test’s reliability can be contested, particularly since various non-alcohol-related conditions can cause nystagmus. Furthermore, the certification and accuracy of the officer administering the test can be a point of contention.

Walk and Turn & One Leg Stand Challenges: The physical FSTs, while appearing simple, are laden with potential for misinterpretation and subjective judgment. The conditions under which these tests are administered—such as on uneven terrain, under stressful roadside conditions, or with ambiguous instructions—can significantly affect performance and, consequently, the test’s fairness.

The DK Anderson, S.C. Approach

At DK Anderson, S.C., our seasoned OWI defense attorneys possess the expertise necessary to scrutinize and challenge the administration and interpretation of field sobriety tests. Recognizing the nuanced arguments that can undermine the prosecution’s reliance on these tests, we prepare a comprehensive defense strategy that highlights the tests’ inherent flaws and subjective nature.

If you’re facing OWI charges in Wisconsin and are concerned about the impact of field sobriety test results on your case, our team is here to provide the aggressive representation you need. By challenging these tests’ validity and the circumstances surrounding their administration, we aim to secure the best possible outcome for our clients.

For a detailed evaluation of your case and to explore how we can challenge the evidence against you, contact DK Anderson, S.C. today for a free consultation. Let our expertise in OWI defense guide you through this challenging time with confidence.

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