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WHAT SIGNIFICANCE DO THE FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS PLAY IN A DUI CASE IN LOS ANGELES?
As you might guess, field sobriety test are very subjective tests that law enforcement can use to help prove a person guilty of a DUI. The tests are suppose to be designed to determine if a person can safely operate a motor vehicle. The problem with them is that they are subject to manipulation and lying by the police. Another issue is that if they do not say that you failed them, then they can not arrest you. Hence as you might guess, almost everyone of the clients who comes into my office is alleged by the police to have failed the field sobriety tests, even though most of them will tell me that they think they passed.
In my opinion, these tests have limited value and are just a back up system for the police and prosecutors in case the matter goes to trial. One way I have used them to my client’s benefit is if there are some good test results then I will point them out to the prosecutor in trying to get a lesser charge.
Many times the police will indicate the person arrested by them was cooperative and even passed one or more of the tests. This is something I can definitely use against the prosecutors in an effective way to help my client. DUI cases hinge on a number of crucial factors and field sobriety tests can be one of them under the right circumstances. In the thousands of DUI cases I have handled over the course of the past twenty five years I would say that approximately half of them I am able to use the FST’s to my clients advantage in either getting the charge reduced or taking away some of the punishment the prosecutors want to impose.
The answer is that you are not required by law to take the field sobriety tests offered by the police in a DUI pull over. However, you do have to take a blood or breath test if the police request you to do so. This is because driving in California is considered a privilege and not a right. To refuse to take a blood or breath test is usually a huge mistake and will cost you your drivers license for one year. The reality is that if you feel fine when the police pull you over and you have not had much alcohol, take the tests and be on your way. The police do not like to waste their time and will let you go if they do not think you are going to be over the legal limit. It is a large time suck for them to arrest someone for a DUI, later to have to let them go. They look like idiots to their colleagues and no one wants to be perceived as not knowing what they are doing. If you have had a lot to drink, you should probably still cooperate because the law is much harsher on a refusal than on a regular first time DUI.
Were you stopped and arrested for driving under the influence? Did you take part in a field sobriety test? If so, our drunk driving defense attorneys are available to help defend you. Our unmatched credentials in all of Los Angeles County and our combined 75 years of experience qualify us to competently represent you.
Field sobriety tests have not been proven to be 100% accurate and our Los Angeles DUI lawyers have experience in successfully contesting field sobriety test results.
Field sobriety tests are designed for the purpose of showing if you can follow directions and maintain balance. Part of the field sobriety test is the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test which is conducted to show involuntary jerking of the eyes by having you follow light or an object with your eyes. Other field sobriety tests include; the one leg stand; walk and turn; alphabet test; portable breath tests.
If the law enforcement feels that you have failed the field sobriety test, they will take you back to the police station to conduct a blood or breath test to actually determine if you can be charged with a DUI.
Our experienced lawyers build successful defenses and we use our aggressive legal strategies to either get your DUI dismissed due to insufficient evidence or get you the least amount of penalties possible.
Call the Hedding Law Firm and set up a free consultation so we can start discussing your case and take the steps necessary to get you the best possible results.