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California Field Sobriety Tests

 Posted on April 23, 2024 in DUI

CA defense lawyerIt can be extremely stressful to get pulled over in California on suspicion of a DUI. You may be compelled to simply cooperate with the police officers and do whatever they ask so you can put the whole incident behind you. However, even if the field sobriety test (FST) you are asked to perform seems simple enough to you, it has the potential for serious implications. It is possible to fail an FST even if you are sober, and a resulting DUI conviction can significantly harm your future. If you submit to an FST and fail it, the best thing you can do is make sure to contact a qualified San Fransisco, CA defense lawyer as soon as possible so they can begin working on your case.

Types of FSTs

While there are several kinds of FSTs you can be asked to perform if you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, the three most common include:

  • Walk and turn: The driver is asked to walk nine steps, turn on one foot, and then walk back nine steps as a test of coordination, balance, and instruction-following capabilities.
  • One-legged stand: Another test of balance and coordination, this test asks the driver to stand on one leg while counting out loud.
  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus: This test checks whether your eyeballs display any involuntary jerking movements, which usually indicate alcohol-induced impairment.

Are FSTs Accurate?

In short, no. The three tests mentioned above do not come close to 100% accurate and even if all three are used together, the highest degree of accuracy you can expect to reach is only 82%. When considering that these can be used to convict someone of a DUI, that score seems far too low. Add that to the fact that FSTs are subjective. They can be affected by non-alcohol-related factors pertaining to the driver and the police officer, including the driver’s age, physical disabilities, illnesses, medications, and the police officer’s mood.

Do I Need to Submit it to FSTS in California?

FSTs are not mandatory. Therefore, you have the right to refuse a test, and in some cases, refusal might even be recommended. However, if you do, it might seem like you are guilty of DUI and trying to hide the evidence, and then you risk getting arrested on a DUI charge anyway. 

Schedule a Free Consultation with a California DUI Lawyer

If you were pulled over, failed FSTs, and have been arrested for a DUI charge, an experienced Napa, CA DUI attorney can be just the person to defend you in your case and advise you on how to proceed. Call Burglin Law Offices, P.C. at 415-729-7300 to schedule a free consultation.

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