DUI Field Sobriety Tests in California
As you might guess, field sobriety tests are very subjective tests that law enforcement can use to help prove a person guilty of a DUI.
The tests are 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 they cannot arrest you if they do not say that you failed them. Hence as you might guess, almost every one of the clients who come 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.
Challenging Accuracy of Field Sobriety Tests
In my opinion, these tests have limited value and are just a backup system for the police and prosecutors in case the matter goes to trial. I have used them to my client's benefit. If there are some good test results, I will point them to the prosecutor 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. I can effectively use this against the prosecutors to help my client.
DUI cases hinge on several 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 past twenty-five years, I would say that in approximately half of them, I can use the FSTs to my client's advantage in either getting the charge reduced or taking away some of the punishment the prosecutors want to impose.
Do I Have To Take DUI Field Sobriety Tests?
The answer is that you are not required by law to take the field sobriety tests offered by the police in a DUI pullover. However, you have to take a blood or breath test if the police request you. 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 driver's 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 will be over the legal limit. It is a significant time suck for them to arrest someone for a DUI and later 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. You should probably still cooperate if you have had a lot to drink 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 represent you competently. 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.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
Field sobriety tests are designed to show if you can follow directions and maintain balance. Part of the field sobriety test is the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, which shows involuntary jerking of the eyes by having you follow the light or an object with your eyes.
Other field sobriety tests include; the one-leg stand, walk, turn, alphabet test, and portable breath tests. If 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 determine if you can be charged with a DUI.
Our experienced lawyers build successful defenses. We use our aggressive legal strategies to 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 to discuss your case and take the steps necessary to get you the best possible results.
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