A field sobriety test is a battery of agility and cognitive assessments used by law enforcement to determine whether the individual is possibly under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If a driver is investigated by law enforcement for suspicion of DUI or another offense, officers routinely request that the individual perform a series of filed sobriety tests in order to determine whether or not to affect a DUI arrest.
Field Sobriety Tests and DUI Arrest
It is up to the observing officer to determine which tests to administer, where and exactly how to administer those tests, and whether the driver passes the battery of tests or fails them. While the driver performs the tests one at a time, the officer closely monitors the individual’s ability to follow a litany of detailed instructions, demeanor, outward appearance, balance, coordination, and records as many “cues/clues” of impairment as possible.
The administering officer will decide if the driver has correctly followed the instructions explained. These tests supposedly reveal whether a driver is more likely under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If the driver exhibits enough symptoms of potential impairment, whether those symptoms were caused by alcohol or not, the driver has assembled a wealth of deceptive, yet sometimes convincing, evidence for the prosecutor. The driver who fails the FSTs also earns an arrest.
Standardized Field Sobriety Tests
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has championed the use of field sobriety tests throughout the years and performed pseudo-scientific studies to validate their efficacy. Presently, there are three field sobriety tests are considered “standardized” or “validated” by the NHTSA. These three NHTSA standardized field sobriety tests SFSTs are: the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, the Walk-and-Turn test, and the One-Leg Stand test.
Inaccuracies in Field Sobriety Tests
Some people think that field sobriety tests can accurately reveal whether a driver is operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, however, this is not true. More alarmingly, police officers are trained and required to act on their interpretation of field sobriety test performance. Innocent people are frequently arrested for DUI.
In a substantial number of cases, it has later been discovered that drivers ‘failing’ the field sobriety tests were completely sober. It is quite possible for a sober driver to perform poorly during such tests and for a drunk driver to perform well.
Hire an Orange County and Irvine Field Sobriety Test Attorney
Failing a battery of field sobriety testing does not automatically mean the driver will be convicted of DUI. It is imperative to consult an experienced Irvine field sobriety test attorney to obtain an assessment of the available defenses in your case.
The experienced, well-practiced attorneys at The Law Offices of Todd Landgren know that DUI charges demand prompt attention and that each DUI case should be carefully evaluated by an experienced professional. When it comes to successfully fighting DUI charges, having a reputable Irvine field sobriety test attorney is absolutely crucial.