Field Sobriety Tests

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If you are pulled over by an officer who suspects you of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, you will most likely be asked to perform certain tests that are designed to help the officer determine if there is probable cause to arrest you. These tests are known as field sobriety tests or FST’s for short. If you are arrested for a DUI it is important to contact Attorney Michael A. Fiumara, an experienced Santa Rosa DUI Attorney as soon as possible. Certain testing methods like the Field Sobriety Tests are highly inaccurate and can be aggressively and successfully challenged by experienced California DUI Lawyers.

Field Sobriety tests are a series of agility exercises, some are standardized some are not, which are meant to test balance, divided attention and coordination. Since generally speaking, these are skills that are needed to operate a motor vehicle, the tests assume that a sober person would be able to pass them. However, field sobriety tests have been shown to be highly inaccurate by the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA). In cases where field sobriety tests were used to convict people 20% – 30% would be wrongly convicted of DUI. Don’t let this happen to you. If you have been arrested for a DUI, contact The Law offices Of Michael A. Fiumara right away.

Some of the most common types of Field Sobriety tests performed in California are:

Horizontal and Vertical Gaze Nystagmus – following a pen light with your eyes while the officer checks for unusual eye movement.

Walk and Turn – taking 9 steps heel to toe forward, turning and taking nine back. The person must multitask to perform the test.

One Leg Stand – standing feet together and arms at sides and raising one leg six inches from the ground. The officer will look for using of arms for balance hopping and or swaying.

Finger to Nose Test – With feet together and eyes closed the subject must bring an arm to their nose alternating between arms.

Finger Count Test – Using thumb subject must count fingers forward and backward.

Hand Pat Test – alternate clapping from front to back of hands while counting.

Stand and Balance Test—Stand in one place with arms and hands at your sides and feet together and head tilted back. Finger to Nose Test often combined with this test.

These four tests, Horizontal and Vertical Gaze, Walk and Turn, the One Leg Stand and the Stand and Balance, have been shown to be the most accurate of the field sobriety tests by the NHTSA. These four are known as standardized field sobriety tests. Even though these four standardized tests have been shown to be more accurate than others this is only the case if the tests are performed exactly to specifications. Officers rarely perform the tests to required specifications making the standardized tests easily challenged in a court of law.

Another common favorite field sobriety test is the use of the Preliminary Alcohol Screening device or otherwise known as The PAS test is not mandatory and should always be refused by the person stopped and investigated for a DUI.  Most people are not aware that Field Sobriety Tests are not mandatory and may be refused. The officer may not tell you this in order to collect more evidence to support an arrest. Again, if asked to perform these tests, always refuse to do them. Without this evidence, it is easier for your DUI lawyer to challenge probable cause to arrest!

If you have been charged with a DUI, it is important to contact experienced DUI attorney Michael A. Fiumara to prepare a winning defense strategy for you, today!

DUI charges can lead to license suspension, probation, hefty fines and jail or, even, prison time depending on how many prior convictions you may have had. Your attorney should be aware of how to attack and discredit field sobriety and blood alcohol concentration tests such as the PAS test.

Santa Rosa DUI attorney, Michael A. Fiumara has successfully defended hundreds of people with DUI charges in his 23 years of DUI practice. He will evaluate your case honestly and give you the best course of action for your defense. Mr. Fiumara will show you the flaws and weaknesses in the police reports and explain how he is going to successfully attack and dismantle the prosecution’s case against you!

Don’t assume you are guilty! Contact the Law office of Michael A. Fiumara today! You can use the convenient and confidential contact form on this website or call one of our two conveniently located offices in Santa Rosa and San Rafael at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507.

Let us start preparing a winning defense strategy for you today!


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