DUI Field Sobriety Tests (FST)

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California DUI Field Sobriety Tests – FST

Are Field Sobriety Tests Accurate?

The sad truth is Field Sobriety Tests, also known as FST’s for short, are not always accurate. That’s good news when trying to beat a DUI charge. When an officer pulls you over for DUI, they will ask you some questions to gauge your level of intoxication.  They will also be looking for objective symptoms such as bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, dry mouth.

Other Field Sobriety Tests

There are several other tests that different officers employ to decide whether to arrest someone for a DUI. These include saying the alphabet without singing, finger to nose test, counting down from 75 to 55, hand pat test, stand and balance test, and many others.

Objective Symptoms

When stopped for a DUI, the officer will list the objective symptoms of intoxication he notices on the driver. These include bloodshot/watery eyes, odor of alcoholic beverage, and slurred speech.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)

During this test, the officer will hold an item, either a pen or flashlight, out in front of you and ask you to hold your head still and follow the object with your eyes. Nystagmus is the involuntary movement back and forth of the eye as it travels from side to side. The theory behind the test is that alcohol increases nystagmus and if it can be observed then a person with nystagmus has been drinking prior to driving. However, nystagmus occurs naturally in a small portion of the general population. An experienced DUI lawyer can attempt to attack the results of the HGN test.

One Leg Stand

Our experience has found that most people cannot perform this test properly or correctly whether or not they have been drinking.  When officers administer this test, they instruct the driver to stand with feet together, then to lift one foot a few inches off the ground, look at the raised foot, and count.  When attacking the results of Field Sobriety Tests, a close look must be given to this test and the results reported.

 Walk and Turn Test

For this test the officer chooses a line or crack in the ground and instructs the person to walk the line, placing each foot in front of the other, touching heel to toe, to the end of the line or crack, then turn around and repeat the process while coming back toward the officer.

We have found that many people are confused by the instructions and have difficulty in executing this particular test. See our page DUI Stages.

Preliminary Alcohol Screening Device (PAS)

It is not uncommon for an officer to ask that you blow into a small handheld device known as a preliminary alcohol screening device. This device is used to test your breath for the presence of alcohol. The test is given two times and the officer records the results. If the results are over the legal limit of .08 %, then you will likely be arrested. See our page DUI Basics.

There are several ways to attack the results of tests like these.  If you’d like to learn more, please call My Rights Law for a no-obligation, confidential free consultation.

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