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Field Sobriety Tests

Types of Field Sobriety Tests

A police officer has the right to pull someone over if he suspects intoxication.  Once this is done, the officer will attempt to determine whether the person is actually DUI by field sobriety tests.  There are a number of different types of field tests which can be given, but they must all be done exactly according to a certain protocol.  The tests were designed to have a driver perform certain physical and cognitive tests that would show whether there is probable cause to arrest or not.  Known as Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, their use has been regulated by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA).  When arrested or charged for DUI, it is important that you contact a Santa Barbara DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible following your arrest.  Taking swift action to protect your rights is vital.

The types of standardized tests most commonly used by law enforcement officers include:

  • The one-leg stand
  • Walk and turn
  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus test

There are other non-standard tests that officers also use on occasion, which might include:

  • Recite the alphabet or a portion of it
  • Count backwards
  • Stand with feet together and tip the head backwards
  • Count the number of fingers that the officer raises
  • Finger-to-nose, requiring the driver to close his or her eyes and bring the finger around to touch the nose

In addition to the field tests, breath, blood, or urine testing may be required once arrested. If you refuse in California you face suspension of driving privileges.

Defensive Measures to use by your Santa Barbara DUI Attorney

Although there are strict rules police officers are supposed to take when giving field sobriety tests, this does not always occur.  With careful review of all the reports, police officer statements and lab findings, it is possible to challenge evidence found showing your “guilt”.  If any procedural error took place, this evidence can be disputed, resulting in a possible reduction or dismissal of charges.

Attorney Kenneth M. Hallum has extensive experience in this area of the law, as the main focus of his practice is defending those involved with DUI charges.  Mr. Hallum will personally handle your case from beginning to end.  He has successfully defended numerous clients for driving under the influence and can do the same for you.  Contact his office today.

If you have failed a field sobriety test and are facing DUI charges, contact the Law Office of Kenneth M. Hallum today.

One Response to "Field Sobriety Tests"

  • FAQ – Santa Barbara DUI Lawyer Answers Your Questions « The Law Office of Kenneth M. Hallum
    March 27, 2012 - 2:28 am

    […] The answer is YES!!! In many cases, the reason behind the stop of your car and reliability (or lack thereof) of the test results are susceptible to challenge in and out of court. Police officers write hundreds of reports a week and often fail to include details which, when properly investigated, can result in their evidence being challenged.  Further, even if we cannot show there was a problem with the breathalyzer machine, it is often possible to show the results are not reliable and that errors and/or mistakes can be made, and therefore a reasonable doubt may exist as to the accuracy of the test result in a particular case. Fortunately for you, the officer’s subjective opinion is not necessarily an accurate statement of fact and often subject to challenge and review. Significantly, some studies have shown that even properly trained officers subjective opinions of impairment and/or intoxication levels are typically may be no better than 50/50 in determining whether a person is “under the influence” through the use of normal “field sobriety tests.” […]