DUI Field Sobriety Tests in PA

In Pennsylvania, no one can force you to take a field sobriety test. However, if you are administered a field sobriety test, the officer will most likely point out numerous indicators of impairment and attempt to use their opinion of your performance to strengthen the case against you.

A good defense attorney can use the same tests to prove that you were not impaired. Because the field tests are based on the judgment of the arresting officer, the results of the tests can often be successfully argued against.

Many times, the police officer will video record the field sobriety tests and when the video is shown in Court, the observations originally stated by the officer are not present and the Judge will throw out the case.

A knowledgeable Pittsburgh DUI Defense Attorney can point out these discrepancies and have your case dismissed. Get more information on hiring a DUI Lawyer.

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Call Ketchel Law today to see how your case might be affected: 412-456-1221

Field Sobriety Tests Used in Pennsylvania

Field sobriety tests are comprised of a series of roadside exercises used by the arresting police officer during a DUI pull over. These tests are used to establish reasonable grounds for suspicion of driving under the influence. If the officer suspects that the motorist is intoxicated, he or she can request that the motorist undergo a field sobriety test.

There are only three field sobriety tests that are recognized by NHTSA as possibly showing that a motorist is impaired:

The One Leg Stand
Standing on one leg about six inches off the ground for 30 seconds.
The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)
Requires you to continue looking at the officer’s finger or an object she is holding while moving her finger or the object. If your eyes cannot follow the finger or object without hesitation or jumpy movement, then you may be deemed intoxicated.
Walk and Turn
Requires you to take nine steps placing the heel of one foot at the top of the toe of the other foot, take nine steps, then pivot on your foot and return to where you started.

Other tests are often administered in Pennsylvania including the finger-to-nose test, reciting the alphabet, and a balancing test, but tests are not recognized by NHTSA as indicators of impaired and can be challenged and defeated by a good DUI Attorney.

There are many factors other than alcohol that could cause you to fail these tests like a medical condition, surgery, arthritis, fatigue or simply being nervous. However, just because you do not agree with the results of the test does not mean the court will side with you.

Our number one goal: Your DUI charges reduced or dismissed.

Call Ketchel Law today: 412-456-1221 for a free consultation.


Ketchel Law will vigorously defend your rights when you’ve been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Our firm thoroughly understands the county-by-county differences in the enforcement of Pennsylvania’s DUI laws, and we apply our extensive knowledge to building the strongest case possible.

Because the laws are complicated and the penalties for a DUI in PA can vary, you absolutely must find a DUI attorney who understands how the system works.

Contact Justin J. Ketchel today for a free consultation of your case.

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