Field Sobriety Tests
Challenging Your DUI
Under California law, you can be arrested for driving under the influence
of alcohol if you are found to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08%
or above. Law enforcement can test a driver to see if they are under the
influence by administering a breath test. This device analyzes a breath
sample and gives a reading showing how much alcohol is in the system.
Another way is by drawing a sample of blood and testing for the amount
of alcohol found. Both of these tests provide a percentage and allows
the authorities to determine whether they are over or under the legal
limit. There is, however, a third way which does not look for a percentage,
but rather tests to see if the individual is impaired. This is known as
field sobriety testing.
Types of Field Sobriety Tests
According to the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are three main standardized field sobriety tests. The goal of these
tests is to allow the peace officer administering them an accurate picture
of whether the driver was operating their vehicle while impaired by alcohol.
The first two of the three standardized field sobriety tests are divided
attention tests, the walk and turn test and the one leg stand. Divided
attention tests are tasks which would be easy to complete by a sober person,
but intoxicated people are not able to successfully complete them.
In the walk and turn test, the driver is asked to take nine steps, heel-to-toe.
Once they have walked nine steps in a straight line, they have to turn
around and walk in the opposite direction. There are certain things which
the peace officer will be on the lookout for throughout this exercise.
They will look to see if they took the correct number of steps or whether
they could not keep count. They will also look to see if they could not
keep their balance or could not walk in a straight line. Research done
regarding this test showed that it produced accurate results in 79% of
the cases. This means that even if you failed a walk and turn test, you
may still be innocent.
The next divided attention test is the one leg stand. In the one leg stand,
the driver is required to stand with one foot about six inches above the
ground. They have to remain standing in this way while counting out loud
until the law enforcement officer tells them they can put their foot down.
Things that will indicate whether the driver is impaired are their ability
to listen to and follow instructions. If they are unable to keep their
balance or cannot keep count, it could be an indicator they are under
the influence of alcohol or drugs. The accuracy of the one leg stand test
is 83%. This being said, if you believe that you were wrongfully charged with
DUI based on a one legal stand test, a
Los Angeles DUI lawyer could help you challenge the evidence against you.
Fight the evidence with a Los Angeles DUI attorney!
The last field sobriety test is not a divided attention test. Rather it
examines the involuntary jerking of the eye known as horizontal gaze nystagmus.
When a person's gaze moves from side to side, the eye naturally will
jerk. When the person is under the influence of alcohol, however, this
jerking can be exaggerated. The peace officer may ask the driver to follow
a flashlight or pen with their eyes in order to examine this natural occurrence.
Although this is 88% accurate, this test is not foolproof. There are other
reasons why an individual may exhibit the same thing, such as certain
medications or a health complication. To learn more, please contact our
office so that a Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer can investigate your case.