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New Hampshire Field Sobriety Test Defenses

If you were recently charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New Hampshire, chances are the officer asked you to perform a series of field sobriety tests. These tests are used to determine if you are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs; if you fail any of these tests, you can be arrested for drunk driving. However, you shouldn’t let a failed field sobriety tests deter you from fighting your charges—there are a number of New Hampshire field sobriety test defenses that can be used to help your case.

Unlike breath and blood tests, field sobriety tests are far from scientific. In fact, the grading of these tests can be quite subjective and there are a number of factors that could cause a person to fail. For example, to administer the walk-and-turn and one-leg stand tests, the officer must clearly explain and demonstrate how they should be performed. If the instructions were confusing, your attorney can challenge the results of the test.

The horizontal gaze nystagmus test measures the involuntary jerking or bouncing of the eyes that occurs when you look to the side. This jerking becomes more distinct when a person is intoxicated; however, there are a number of medical conditions--such as neurological disorders or brain tumors--that can also cause nystagmus. If your attorney finds that a factor, other than intoxication, caused you to fail this test, you could contest the results.

Many police departments have installed video cameras in patrol cars to record traffic stops and arrests. If there is videotape evidence from your arrest, an attorney can review your performance on the field sobriety tests. If he or she finds that your test was improperly scored or the officer did not follow the proper protocol, your test results may be thrown out.