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Do Field Sobriety Tests really indicate a Santa Barbara Drunk Driver?

Are field sobriety tests actually useful in catching drunk drivers? Or have they become a tool to incarcerate clumsy and uncoordinated automobile operators?

First we must take a look at the 3 standard tests to determine the answer to these questions. Field sobriety tests have been developed to test divided attention, requiring a person to focus on two things at once. Driving is a complex divided attention task. The 3 standard field sobriety tests are:

1) Nystagmus

2) One Leg Stand

3) Walk and Turn

Nystagmus is believed to be the most reliable test in determining impairment. Nystagmus means an involuntary jerking of the eyes. Nystagmus becomes readily noticeable when a person is impaired. When an officer performs the Nystagmus test on a subject he will have his subject follow a small stimulus such as a pen tip or small penlight.

One Leg Stand is administered by asking the subject to stand with both arms at their side and raise one leg, while balancing on the other leg they must count to 30. If they are unable to balance for 30 seconds with their leg up it may be an indication that they are impaired.

Walk and Turn is administered by asking the subject to walk heel-to-toe for 9 steps. After they have taken 9 steps they must turn on the line and take another nine steps heel-to-toe in the other direction.

Field Sobriety Tests should be used as an objective tool to determine if probable cause to arrest exists but instead are often used as a subjective way to show impairment, which may lead to incorrect arrests. If you find yourself facing a DUI arrest report you should find a DUI Lawyer that can examine the evidence for any errors or wrong doing that might have occurred during a field sobriety test that was administered on you. The biggest mistake someone with a DUI conviction will often make is thinking it is a something they can handle themselves. Hiring a DUI attorney will give you the best possible chances at fighting the penalties for a DUI conviction.  Santa Barbara DUI Attorney Kenneth M. Hallum offers a free case consultation. Call today, 805-564-3101. Know your rights, options and defenses against drunk driving.

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About Santa Barbara DUI Attorney Kenneth M. Hallum:
As a DUI defense attorney, Kennnth Hallum is dedicated to an understanding of the art and science of California DUI defense with memberships in the California DUI Lawyers Association, the National College of DUI Defense, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the California Public Defenders Association, and the State Bar of California.

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