Field Sobriety Tests
What are Field Sobriety Tests?
Field sobriety tests (FST) are agility tests that law enforcement uses to determine if a person is impaired by drugs and/or alcohol. If a person is suspected to have been driving under the influence, law enforcement may request that the person perform a series of field sobriety tests before deciding to make a DUI arrest.
Inaccuracies of Field Sobriety Tests
Most people think that field sobriety tests can determine if a person is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. However, this is not true. In many cases, people have performed poorly during field sobriety tests for reasons other than intoxication. A person can perform poorly or fail the field sobriety tests for several reasons, including: poor lighting, slippery road conditions, poor instructions, and medical conditions that may impair the person’s coordination.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence due to the results of a field sobriety test, it is imperative that you contact a San Diego DUI lawyer. A lawyer will be able to challenge the validity of these test results, and may successfully have your charges reduced or dismissed completely.
The field sobriety test is made of several different tests, with some of these tests varying from state to state. The three tests that are standard to a field sobriety test in every state are:
- The walk-and-turn: This test has the individual walk nine steps in a “heel-to-toe” fashion, turn around, and walk back the same way they came. It is intended to determine if the person’s balance has been affected by drugs or alcohol.
- The one-legged stand: This test involves the person standing on one leg for a extended period of time. Like the walk-and-turn, it is used to determine the individual’s balance.
- The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: This test has the individual following an object (usually a pen) with only their eyes. It is used to see if the person can smoothly follow the object, or if their eyes are jerking due to being under the influence.
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