DUI Sobriety Tests
California DUI Field Sobriety Tests
When a police officer stops a motorist suspected of DUI, that officer must have reason to make the traffic stop. Any violation of the California Vehicle Code (speeding, broken taillight, etc.) can be probable cause for the officer to pull you over.
The officer will be making observations throughout the traffic stop to determine if there is a suspicion of driving under the influence. For example, is there an odor of alcohol on the driver’s breath? Is the driver’s speech slurred or are the eyes bloodshot? How does the driver respond to questions or directions?
Many field sobriety tests require attention to both physical and mental tasks at the same time. Physical tasks may include balance or coordination. Mental tasks may include comprehension of verbal instructions from the officer, processing of that information, and recall from memory. For example, a driver suspected of DUI must listen to the officer’s instructions on how far to raise his or her leg and how long to hold it up and balance.
Field Sobriety Tests – What You Should Know
Standardized field sobriety tests were developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These tests are part of a training program designed to help police officers better detect potential DUI suspects.
Field sobriety tests in California may include any of the following: Walking and turning test (walking a straight line heel to toe and turning around) Balancing test (standing on one leg) Horizontal gaze test (following a moving object with eyes and no movement of the head)
In addition to these standardized tests, an officer may request that a driver perform non-standardized tests as well. The most common test people think of that would fall under the category of non-standardized is the finger-to-nose test where you close your eyes, open your arms out to the side, and attempt to touch your index finger to the tip of your nose.
Experienced California DUI Attorney Can Help
It is important to keep in mind that field sobriety tests are completely voluntary because, under the Fifth Amendment, you have a right not to provide evidence that can be used against you in court. Field sobriety tests, like other types of DUI testing, may be administered improperly and provide inaccurate results.
At Hoffman & Associates, we have more than 30 years of experience defending DUI cases in California. Our experienced DUI lawyers understand how field sobriety test results can be challenged in court. We fight to protect your rights and good reputation through a solid defense that may get your DUI charges reduced or dismissed. For a phone or office consultation, call us at 323-655-3900. Our skilled DUI attorneys work in courts throughout California and are ready to help you with your case.