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Can you keep your field sobriety test results out of court?

On Behalf of | Oct 19, 2022 | DUI

Prosecutors in Virginia will make use of every scrap of evidence they have to build a criminal case. When trying to prosecute a charge related to driving under the influence (DUI) allegations, a prosecutor relies on a combination of officer testimony, video footage and test results.

Field sobriety tests play an important role in the DUI arrest process and can also contribute crucial evidence in criminal court. Especially if you refused chemical testing or were below the legal limit, the field sobriety test could be the strongest evidence against you.

Can you potentially prevent a prosecutor from using video footage of your field sobriety test in criminal court?

You could challenge the validity of the evidence

Sometimes, a police officer performs a field sobriety test when they don’t have cameras running or outside of the field of vision of the cameras they do have. If there is no body camera or dashboard camera footage of a field sobriety test, the test results may have a very limited impact on the prosecutor’s case.

Other times, there is video footage but questions about its legality. If an officer did not have justification for pulling you over in the first place, you may have grounds to challenge the traffic stop and prevent a prosecutor from using the footage recorded during that interaction in criminal court.

You can undermine the usefulness of the evidence too

If you can’t keep evidence about your field sobriety test out of court, you may be able to challenge the claim that it shows you are under the influence. For example, you could present medical records that make it clear you were not intoxicated but rather suffering the ill effects of a neurological condition or diagnosed anxiety.

Medical records or expert witness testimony could help you raise questions about whether your field sobriety test results truly indicate impairment, especially if the chemical test results do not show that you were over the legal limit. Every DUI case in Virginia is unique, and defendants need to understand the law and different defense strategies if they hope to prevail in criminal court. Learning more about how the state builds DUI charges could help you respond to pending criminal allegations.

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