Field Sobriety Tests

El Cajon DUI Defense Attorney

What are Field Sobriety Tests?

Field sobriety tests or (FST) are tests that police officers use to determine if someone is under the influence drugs and/or alcohol. If a person is suspected to be driving under the influence, an officer can request that the person takes a field sobriety test before making an arrest for DUI.

Inaccuracies of Field Sobriety Tests

Most people think a field sobriety test can determine if someone has been using drugs and/or alcohol. This is not always true. In many instances, people have performed poorly during field sobriety tests (FST) because of reasons other than being under the influence. A person can fail a field sobriety test for several reasons, including: poor lighting, slippery road conditions, poor instructions, and medical conditions that may impair the coordination of the person.

If you’ve been charged with an El Cajon DUI because of the results of a field sobriety test, you need to call an El Cajon DUI lawyer immediately. A DUI lawyer can challenge the accuracy and validity of these tests, and may be able to have your charges reduced or dismissed.

The field sobriety test is really several different tests. Some of these tests vary in different states. The three tests that are standard to in every state include:

  • The walk-and-turn: This test has the person walk for 9 steps in a “heel-to-toe” way, turn around, and then walk back the same way they came. It is to determine if the person’s balance has been affected by being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • The one-legged stand: This test has the person in question stand on one leg for a extended period of time. Like the walk-and-turn, it’s used to determine the person’s balance.
  • The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: This test has the individual follow an object (usually a pen or finger) with their eyes. It is used to see if the person can follow the object smoothly, or if their eyes are jerking because they are under the influence.