So, you’ve been pulled over because you didn’t put your self belt on, wiggled in your lane, whatever, and the officer asks you to take a serious of field sobriety tests to see if you are DUI in Georgia. You comply and, like most non-athletes, you fail. You walked 8 steps, not 9 as required, and started the test before the officer told you to start. You balanced on one leg for 15 seconds without even swaying, then put your other leg down for a brief second. FAIL! Here comes the cuffs…

The thing is you do not have to perform the field sobriety tests. They are designed to make you fail (I personally try it every now and then for fun and haven’t passed yet). And the truth is, quite frankly, the officer is there to confirm his suspicions. Not be your friend or find the truth. One little sway, one little hiccup and the next thing you know you’re wearing the county’s jewelry collection. The fact of the matter is that these 2 tests, the walk and turn test and the one leg balance test are only about 65% reliable – hardly enough to convict. But the big one is the third test, the HGN test – the one where the officer hold his finger or a pen in front of your face and has you follow it with your eyes. They’re looking for a “lack of smooth pursuit” and where the other tests are unreliable and typically recorded, the HGN test is more like 88% reliable and nearly impossible to see on video, meaning it’s the DUI officer’s word against yours and that doesn’t usually pan out. This is where you really want an attorney because whereas it is your word vs. the DUI officer’s word, if the officer doesn’t do it perfectly, the test can be tossed. There are also other factors that come into play – such as the fact that alcohol is not the only thing that causes a “lack of smooth pursuit.”

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