Field Sobriety Testing in California

Standardized field sobriety tests, are often used by law enforcement officers in California, to determine if a driving under the influence (DUI) arrest should be made. If you have been arrested after allegedly failing these so called “tests” Santa Rosa DUI Attorney Steven Taxman can help you fight your DUI charges.

Some of the best DUI attorneys in Santa Rosa, will tell you, that police officers typically use the one-leg stand, walk-and-turn, and horizontal gaze nystagmus tests, to decide if there is probable cause for a drunk-driving arrest. Both the one-leg stand and walk-and-turn tests are known as divided attention tests, meaning that they measure both physical performance and the ability to understand and follow instructions.

The one-leg stand test consists of an instruction and performance stage. During the instruction phase, the officer will tell you, to stand with your feet together, and arms at your side while he or she explains and demonstrates how you should perform the test. After asking you whether you understand the directions, you will be told to stand on one leg while raising the other six inches off the ground and counting one-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand, until the officer tells you to stop. The officer will look for various clues during the test, which include: beginning the test before being told to do so, using your arms for balance, swaying, hopping, raising your foot either more or less than the six inches off the ground as instructed, and putting your foot down before the test is over. If you exhibit one or more of these clues, you could be arrested for DUI. The walk-and-turn test also includes an instruction and performance stage. To perform this test, you will be told to take nine heel-to-toe steps on an imaginary line, pivot, and then take nine steps back, while counting each step out loud. There are also clues for this test, including: the inability to balance during instructions, starting too soon, stopping while walking, failing to touch heel to toe, stepping off of the line, using arms for balance, pivoting or turning incorrectly, and taking the wrong number of steps. If you exhibit one or more of these clues, you could be arrested for DUI. The horizontal gaze nystagmus test measures the jerking of your eyes, which supposedly become more pronounced when a person is intoxicated. To administer the test, an officer will ask you to keep your head still and follow a small stimulus with your eyes. The officer will look for a lack of smooth pursuit, distinct jerking while your eyes are at maximum deviation and the onset of jerking before your eyes reach 45 degrees. If you exhibit any of these clues, the officer can place you under arrest for DUI. Santa Rosa DUI Attorney Steven Taxman, knows that California field sobriety testing is not an exact science or fool proof way to measure impairment. For example, if the tests are improperly conducted, you could wind up getting wrongfully arrested. We would be delighted to help you fight your DUI charges in Northern California, so call us now at (707) 758-2030.

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