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Field Sobriety Tests

Field Sobriety Tests

When a person is suspected of driving under the influence in California, he/she will be asked to perform a series of field sobriety tests.  These tests are based upon a person’s coordination and agility and are used by law enforcement when determining if a person is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.  Field sobriety tests (FSTs) are considered a valid method of determining intoxication because it is believed that when a person is intoxicated, his/her coordination will be poor.  For example, it is believed by law enforcement that a person who is sober has a better chance of walking a straight line without staggering than a person who is under the influence. 

After a person has been stopped by law enforcement for DUI, he/she will be asked to consent to a voluntary field sobriety tests.  It is important to remember that the person has the right to refuse to perform the FSTs.  If the person consents to the test, he/she will have to perform 3 tests that are approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  These tests are the horizontal gaze (nystagmus) test, the walk and turn test, and the one leg stand test.  While these tests are performed, law enforcement will watch the person closely to see if they show signs of intoxication, such as staggering, losing balance, or tripping. 

Even though field sobriety tests are highly regarded by law enforcement and prosecutors for accuracy, these tests are not 100% accurate.  There are many factors that can lead to a person failing the field sobriety tests that do NOT include being under the influence.  For this reason, people should always hire a DUI defense attorney who can thoroughly investigate their FST results and the procedures surrounding the test administration.  In some cases, a lawyer may be able to argue that the person did not fail the test due to being under the influence, but for other legitimate reasons (poor police instruction, poor weather conditions, physical disabilities, etc.).  These legitimate reasons could lead to the field sobriety test results being omitted from evidence presented by prosecution, and will increase the person’s chance of winning in court. 

California Legal Team
Among the most experienced DUI defense lawyers in Pasadena

If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI in Pasadena, it is imperative that you obtain the services of a qualified DUI defense attorney.  California Legal Team is dedicated to helping clients fight their DUI charges so that they can move forward with their lives.  Every one of our clients is provided with aggressive defense by a highly trained and experienced lawyer.  At California Legal Team, we are focused defense attorneys who believe in giving every client the advocacy, advice, and understanding they need to be successful with their DUI matters.