Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Howard
Call Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah
Call Utah Criminal Lawyer
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys / Former Prosecutors
Call 801-449-1409 now for help protecting your rights.
Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer Salt Lake City

Criminal Defense Solutions Start HereSM

Finding a Felony Defense LawyerChoosing a Misdemeanor Defense LawyerDrug and Alcohol Crimes Defense LawyerWhite Collar Defense Attorney for Utah ChargesAttorney for Expungements Reductions and PardonsDefendant Constitutional Rights Criminal LawyerBail and Bond Alternatives in UtahReasons for Hope Facing Criminal Charges


Top Myths in Utah DUI Cases - FST's

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST's or FST's)

DUI Defense LawyerThere are a variety f myths regarding DUI defense in Utah that pop up from time to time on the internet. These myths seem to continue circulating because there is often at least some degree of truth in them. Understanding these myths and the reality behind them can be an important step to determining the best defense strategy for an individual DUI case.

This page provides general information relating to two DUI myths involving field sobriety testing. If you are facing DUI or other criminal charges in Utah, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side is critical. Contact us today to see how our criminal defense team can help.

Myth #1 - If a police officer does not correctly demonstrate the field sobriety tests, I will win my DUI case.


FALSE - Field sobriety tests are only reliable when the are correctly demonstrated, correctly administered, and correctly interpreted by the police officer. The standardized field sobriety tests recognized by NHTSA require the officer to look for subtle clues in the performance of the subject driver. It may be something as simple as lifting your arms to retain balance, making a pivot while turning, or not touching your heel directly to your toe. If the officer does not correctly demonstrate how these tests are to be performed, the results of the test may be found to be invalid. But a jury can still convict even with invalid FST's.

At trial, courts will often defer to the finder of fact (usually a jury) to determine who much weight to give the results of the field sobriety tests rather than completely excluding them. However, in the context of a motion to suppress, the judge must determine whether the results of the field sobriety tests are so tainted by the officer's inadequate or incorrect instructions and demonstrations such that the results are not sufficiently reliable for purposes of determining probable cause to proceed further with the DUI investigation. In summary, while it is important that an officer correctly explain and demonstrate how field sobriety tests are to be performed, and an officer's failure to do so may significantly aid in defending against a DUI prosecution, incorrectly administered field sobriety tests are not an automatic win.

Myth #2 - If police fail to administer the field sobriety tests, I cannot be charged with DUI.


FALSE - Field sobriety testing is just one tool used by police officers to build a case against a suspected DUI driver. Most often, the field sobriety tests are used to establish probable cause to arrest a driver suspected of DUI or to establish the probable cause necessary to obtain a warrant for a blood or urine sample in order to further investigate a suspected DUI. But the necessary probable cause may be established through other evidence.

When a DUI case involves an accident where the driver suspected of DUI was injured, it is quite common that the driver is not in a physical condition that allows the standardized field sobriety tests to be administered. In such cases, the accident itself may provide some support for a DUI prosecution. Warrants for blood or urine can also sometimes be obtained without the administration of field sobriety tests. Blood, breath, or urine tests can provide evidence of a DUI.. A driving pattern (whether or not an accident occurs) can serve as evidence of a DUI. Statements or admissions by a driver can be introduced against the driver at trial. Physical evidence and officer observations may also be introduced by a prosecutor to support a charge of DUI. Field sobriety tests are often helpful in the process of prosecuting DUI cases, but they are not absolutely necessary.

Finding a DUI Attorney in Utah

Utah Criminal Defense LawyerField sobriety tests are often just one piece of a complex puzzle. A criminal conviction in the Utah court system can carry serious consequences. If you are facing prosecution for a DUI or other related drug or alcohol offenses, having the right attorney on your side can be critical to achieving the outcome you need. Contact us today to see how our criminal defense team can help you.


Best Rating
Make a Payment to Your Account
Get Help Now
Name: Email: Phone: Describe your legal needs here:
I accept the disclaimer below.
Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is established by the use of this form. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be submitted through this form. By clicking 'submit' I am only requesting that I be contacted for the purpose of obtaining legal services.

This form protected by reCAPTCHA.

  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense AttorneyDismissed - Contractor was charged with theft by deception for allegedly misusing customer funds and failing to complete work that had been agreed upon. A successful motion to quash on legal grounds following the bindover order at preliminary hearing resulted in a complete dismissal of all charges.
  • Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client facing first-degree felony drug distribution charge and potential life in prison. Charges were based on allegations that client had sold drugs to an undercover police officer, then made a full confession. Successful mitigation work resulted in negotiated offer of misdemeanor plea-in-abeyance and ultimate dismissal of case.
  • Utah Probation Attorney Released - Client absconded for more than 10 years from felony probation with Adult Probation and Parole. At an order to show cause hearing, prosecutor argued aggressively for prison. Based on effective mitigation efforts by the defense, the judge agreed to release client without further jail.
  • Felony Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client facing first-degree felony charge and possible life in prison for child kidnapping. Full defense analysis of the case revealed critical legal flaws in the prosecution's case. When confronted with the defense legal analysis, the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case outright without trial.
Best Criminal Defense Strategy

The best outcome is more likely when the right strategy is employed. Developing the best strategy can require real courtroom experience, a thorough understanding of procedural and substantive legal issues, and a determination to ensure that important constitutional and other legal rights are protected. Choosing the right attorney....

Strategy »
Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

Our criminal defense lawyers have represented clients facing some of the most serious felony charges on the books in Utah. Whether you are facing prosecution for felony or misdemeanor charges, you can be assured that our attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and determination necessary to help you achieve the results you need. Choosing the best defense attorney for your case will be one of the most important decisions you make....

Experience »
Conviction Consequences - Utah Criminal Defense

A Utah criminal prosecution can result in a lifetime of consequences. Beyond jail and prison, a conviction can affect many areas of life, including employment, housing, finances, family, and much more. Never plead guilty without first consulting with an experienced criminal attorney. Understanding what is at stake is the first step....

Consequences »
Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Reasons to Hope

Being charged with a crime is not the same as being convicted. But just being charged can affect more than you may have imagined - jail, job, family, bills, rent or mortgage. It can feel like everything has gone wrong, and may you wonder if anything can go right. But facing criminal prosecution does not mean giving up hope....

Reasons to Hope »
Home | Attorney Profile | Case Results | Criminal Code | FAQ | Legal Resources | Defense Strategy | Contact Us

Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

The materials in this website are intended for informational purposes only, and are not legal advice. Viewing or responding to materials in this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Read Full Disclaimer.