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Types of Field Sobriety Tests(FSTs) And How They Factor In DUI Cases

by Nancy Ahuja 2 years ago in investigation
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Legal & Law

According to California law on implied consent, any driver who has been stopped at DUI checkpoint should agree to be tested. If you refuse the tests, the arresting officer is obligated to explain the consequences of refusing a test. The tests conducted are to test whether you are impaired. One of the major tests done when police pull a driver over is the field sobriety tests.Forms Of Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are exercises conducted by a police officer to test the driver’s coordination. The main aim behind these tests is to check whether a driver can perform two things simultaneously. In most cases, if you have been detained for being suspected of driving under the influence or violating traffic rules, a police officer may request you to perform FSTs. This is to have evidence for your intoxication. Even if you refuse the test to be conducted, the police officer may move on with the arrest if he/she has a probable cause to believe you are under the influence. Sometimes, these tests may not be accurate; that’s why individuals are encouraged to find top Dui lawyers in Los Angeles to challenge the results if they are not correct. There are many types of FSTs, but the most common ones are:

Performing a one-leg stand: This test usually involves instructions and performance. The police officer gives instructions and makes sure you understand. The next part, you are requested to raise one leg having your foot parallel with your hands on your side. The foot will be around six inches from the ground. The police officer looks out for a variety of possible clues, such as using your hands to be balanced, swaying of hands or putting your foot down within no time after the start of the exercise. If the police observe more than two clues, you will be headed for arrest. This method may be inaccurate, especially for older people or overweight people. This test is believed to be 65% accurate.

Use of walk and turn: To detect whether you’re under the influence, you will be requested to take nine steps using the heel to toe walk along a straight line using one foot. After the first round, you will be asked to conduct the same exercise in the same manner but in the opposite direction. Here, the law enforcement officer will take note of eight indicators. They include; using your arms to maintain balance, making improper turns, making the incorrect amount of steps, not following the heel-to-toe instruction, stepping out of the line, staring the test soon, failure to keep balance during preparations and stopping while walking. This test is believed to be 86% accurate for testing for impairment

Horizontal gaze nystagmus: This test is considered to be a bit reliable compared to others. It’s the involuntary jerking of eyeballs. If one is intoxicated, the jerking becomes more noticeable. Before an officer conducts this test, he/she must first examine whether both eyes can follow an object simultaneously or if the pupil sizes are the same. If these factors are exhibited, then the officers may lender the test undependable. However, if nothing indicates any of the said factors, the officer will look out for three main things. One, whether the eyes are jerking when requested to look at an object, which is approximately 15 inches from your nose, whether there is horizontal or lateral jerking if you look to the side, and lastly, whether there is a nystagmus setting in before your eyes attain a 45degree angle. This test is believed to be 77% accurate.

How FSTs Are Factors In Dui Cases

While conducting the above tests, the police must follow the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) rules. This is because a good percentage of police officers are known to conduct these tests notoriously. That’s why you may need a defense lawyer to defend your inability of being able to undergo thorough these tests. This may be due to injuries or physical impairment. According to NHTSA, these tests are reliable indicators when a driver has a BAC concentration of 0.08% or higher. Two main reasons why these tests are conducted is to ensure that three is probable cause for your Dui arrest and to have the right evidence to be used in court.

Consult A Dui Lawyer

If you have been arrested for DUI, it’s because the police officers had a probable cause to believe you were intoxicated after conducting FSTs or any other test. While these tests are conducted voluntarily, you need the help of an experienced lawyer who understands Dui laws. Additionally, these laws differ by state, so it would be wise to have legal counsel to understand how the rules may affect your case.


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Nancy Ahuja

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