What most people are not aware of is that DUI field sobriety tests are not graded on a pass/fail scale.
In fact, it is impossible to pass a field sobriety test since its only use is to gather evidence against you by police officers administering the tests.
Field Sobriety Testing Laws In California
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has standardized certain field sobriety tests to ensure that they are being administered properly by police officers. Usually, this means that if the test was properly administered, it should be a good indicator of the level of intoxication of the subject. The problem with these tests (both standardized and not) is that people of different coordination levels will always perform differently whether intoxicated or not.
A person with excellent core strength, for example, will perform much better on the one leg stand test than an out of shape person whether or not that person is under the influence. These tests are designed to trip you up. In addition to testing your physical agility (at which you may be poor even without alcohol), they test your ability to follow instructions. They will give you a series of instructions and if you miss any of the steps in the process, you will be deemed to have “not performed as explained and demonstrated.”
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Preliminary Alcohol Screening Test
Some officers have been issued a preliminary alcohol screening test. This device is a hand held breath testing instrument that tests the level of alcohol in your breath. The law requires that the officer take a few steps before administering this test. The first is that they must watch you for a period of 15 minutes before asking you to blow into the instrument. The second is that they must inform you that the test is voluntary and you have the right to refuse it. The 15-minute observation period usually occurs while you are completing the field sobriety tests.
Implied Consent Test
In California, when you received your driver’s license, you signed paperwork giving your implied consent to submit to a breath or blood test if ever arrested for driving under the influence. By law, you are required to take this test and failure to do so can have additional consequences upon a conviction. The choice of whether to submit blood or breath belongs to you.
Additional Field Sobriety Testing Information
- Horizontial Gaze Nystagmus Test
- California Highway Patrol Drug Recognition Evaluator Test
- Romberg Balance Test
- SFST Justice Dept
- California Blood Testing Laws For DUI Investigations
- California Laws Regarding Refusing a Chemical Test, Blood or Breath.
- California Laws Regarding A Rising Blood Alcohol During A DUI Stop
How We Can Help
If you have been arrested for DUI after taking a field sobriety test please contact the Aizman Law Firm for a free consultation at 818-351-9555. These tests are designed for you to fail. There are many reasons a driver could fail these tests including the tests were not administered properly, naturally poor coordination, uneven pavement and nervousness.