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Richmond, VA Criminal Defense Lawyer

Challenging a Field Sobriety Test

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Cody Villalon knows how to successfully address sobriety test issues

If you have been arrested and charged with drunk driving, you likely have concerns about your future . . . and they are well-founded.  The state of Virginia takes driving under the influence seriously; the consequences can be significant and have a lifelong impact on you and your family.

If you are facing charges, the most important thing you should do is engage experienced and skilled legal representation. You want to work with a Richmond drunk driving defense attorney who understands the laws and has a reputation for providing outstanding service. You do not want to handle this on your own.  Your future is at stake, and it is worth protecting.

It is important to realize that just because you have been arrested and charged with drunk driving, this does not mean you are guilty.

There are a host of factors that could impact the truth, particularly those surrounding your field sobriety test.

Your Richmond criminal defense attorney can review the factors surrounding your case and develop a defense. The prosecution is responsible for proving you were driving under the influence; your attorney can challenge the field sobriety test by raising questions regarding the validity of their proof.

Cody Villalon is a skilled and experienced Richmond DUI attorney. Reach out to him today at  804-316-0765  to schedule your free consultation.

Why Choose Cody Villalon to Defend You?

He Knows How to Build Successful DUI Defenses

Identifying the right Richmond DUI attorney is critical. You want to work with a professional who is knowledgeable and experienced and whose approach and style match your needs. For many in and around Richmond, Cody Villalon is the first choice in situations like this. Consider why:

  • More than a decade of experience providing DUI defense services in Richmond
  • In-depth knowledge of Virginia DUI laws including those governing field sobriety tests
  • Hands-on experience in local court systems and relationships with judges and prosecutors
  • Proven experience strategizing and building successful defense like challenging the results of field sobriety tests
  • Commitment to providing personal, responsive service.

Cody Villalon carefully manages his workload to ensure he can personally represent every one of his clients. You can rest assured that when you engage Cody Villalon you will get Cody Villalon. He appreciates his clients’ concerns and works tirelessly to protect their futures.

What Cody Villalon Will Do For You

Managing Your Case and Challenging Your Field Sobriety Test

As your Richmond DUI Lawyer, Cody Villalon will dedicate himself to defending you against all charges. You can rely on him to:

  • Review the Totality of Your Case: In all instances, knowledge is power. As such, Mr. Villalon will take the time to ensure he understands everything relating to your case. Taking time to review all documentation and interview witnesses are among the steps he will take. Of particular importance is the field sobriety test; any errors made by the arresting officer in its administration could impact this test’s ability to be admitted into evidence.
  • Represent You Throughout Your Case: DUI cases may require several court appearances. As your Richmond criminal attorney, Cody Villalon will represent you both at your arraignment and in all bail proceedings.
  • Negotiate Plea Deals: Even in cases where field sobriety tests, breathalyzers, and blood tests are accurate, the possibility exists to plead down the charges. In order to minimize any penalties, including fines and jail time, and protect your future, Cody will skillfully negotiate with the prosecutors on your behalf.
  • Build Your Defense: Cody will review all evidence and leverage any errors made during your arrest, including those in administering your field sobriety test. Before raising these issues publicly, he will share his concerns with the prosecution. In many cases, they will reconsider the charges based on the details he provides. If they are unwilling to make allowances, he will not hesitate to go to trial. He makes sure to pay special attention to all of the details regarding your case. The smallest of things can make the biggest of differences.
  • Represent You in Court: An aggressive litigator, Cody is well-known for both preparing his clients appropriately and arguing their cases successfully. You can rely on him to prepare your defense and represent you appropriately.

Cody has a stellar reputation in and around Richmond. His dedication to his clients is exhibited by the fact that he personally represents each one.

Challenging Field Sobriety Tests in Virginia

Understanding the Law

Recognizing the difference between preliminary field tests and post-arrest tests regarding driving under the influence is important.  You see, preliminary field sobriety tests and preliminary breath tests are voluntary. This means that you are not required to submit to them, although there are repercussions for refusal.

On the other hand, breath or blood tests administered after a DUI arrest are mandatory — you are required by law to submit to them. Refusal to comply with this implied consent law can result in additional changes and more severe punishment.

Common Defense Strategies

Among the field sobriety tests to which you may be subjected if you are suspected of driving under the influence are counting backward, standing on one leg and counting, the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, reciting the alphabet, and walking and turning. While these tests can help identify the use of drugs or alcohol and a level of impairment, they are subjective.  Thus, your Richmond DUI attorney may challenge them.

For example, the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN Test) involves having the driver follow a moving object (like a pen) with their eyes. If eyes jerk when the object is in specific positions, it may indicate inebriation. Police officer errors during the administration of this test are common and may include positioning the subject incorrectly (not in a well-lit area or facing oncoming traffic), failing to identify whether the subject wears contact lenses or has an impactful medical condition, and improperly placing (too near or far) the tracking object.

The walk-and-turn test is also used frequently. During this test, the subject is instructed to stand heel to toe and then take 9 steps forward, pivot, and return. Steps must be counted out loud. Should the police officer notice difficulty balancing and walking, an inability to walk in a straight line, or taking too few or too many steps, the subject may be considered under the influence.

While the walk-and-turn test can be a good indicator of inebriation, there are mitigating factors that could skew the results.

These factors may include physical disabilities and medically-based balance issues.  Proving these issues impacted the test could negate the results.

Another often-used test requires the subject to stand on one leg, with their hands at their sides, while looking at their feet and counting. Those who are drunk or under the influence of drugs have difficulty staying balanced.  They may sway or hop, put their foot down to regain their balance, or raise their arms.  This test can be challenged if the officer did not bring the individual to flat ground or if the person suffers from a physical disability impacting their ability to balance.

Other factors that can be used to challenge field sobriety tests include the age of the individual pulled over (the elderly can have balance issues), as well as their weight.  Also, specific tests need to be conducted in well-lit areas, and the subject must understand the instructions given.

Cody Villalon will carefully review the results of the field sobriety tests along with his client’s depiction of the circumstances.  If he believes impropriety occurred, he will challenge the results.

Contact Cody Villalon Today

Building Your Defense and Challenging for Field Sobriety Test

If you have been charged with a DUI due to the results of your field sobriety test, you need the advice and counsel of a skilled and knowledgeable DUI attorney in Richmond.  Engaging professional representation quickly is critical. You should not speak with anyone, including the police, without your attorney being present.

Cody Villalon has committed his career to providing those in his community with high-quality criminal defense services.  He recognizes that mistakes happen, particularly about driving under the influence.

Field sobriety tests are commonly used as proof in DUI cases. You want to work with a professional who understands how these tests are administered, knows how the law governs them and is experienced in successfully challenging them.  Cody Villalon is this person.  Contact him today at 804-316-0765 to schedule your free consultation and learn how he can support you.

Attorney Cody Villalon Richmond, VA


Cody Villalon is a criminal defense attorney in Richmond, VA representing clients accused of violent offenses and DUIs, and he specializes in serious criminal charges. He possesses more than 10 years of legal experience, has defended more than 1,000 cases, and has spent more than 5,000 hours in court. He is highly professional and well-respected by prosecutors and judges. [ Attorney Bio ]


  • Virginia Criminal Defense Assoc.
  • Best Defense Award
  • Best DUI Lawyer Award
  • Best DUI Lawyer Award
  • Top Lawyer Reviews