Did You Fail a Field Sobriety Test?

Experienced San Diego DUI Lawyer

Field sobriety tests are conducted in order to gather evidence necessary to charge a driver with DUI. In California, it must be proven that the driver was mentally or physically impaired while driving and that this impairment was caused by drugs or alcohol in order to be brought up on charged for driving under the influence. Field sobriety tests are aimed at using a person’s physical and mental limitations against them and claim that this can be used as evidence to prove intoxication.

Have you been accused of driving under the influence in San Diego? You need representation familiar with field sobriety tests and the methods used to defend against them to prove your innocence in this case. Contact Attorney Mark R. De Yoe for aggressive DUI defense today!

What field sobriety tests are used by police?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has acknowledged three tests to be valid for testing a driver. If a driver is not able to perform these tests, it is taken as evidence by both police and judges that the driver was too impaired to drive. However, there is a lot of ambiguity associated with field sobriety tests. Since they are not 100% accurate, an experienced DUI defense lawyer can use field sobriety tests in your favor.

Standardized field sobriety tests used by police include:

  1. Horizontal Nystagmus Test: Involves the officer directing you to follow an object with your eyes, without moving your head. He will look for certain reactions that indicate intoxication
  2. The Walk and Turn Test: Involves having the driver walk nine steps heel-to-toe along a line while the officer watches for poor balance, wrong number of steps or other indications of impairment
  3. The One-Leg Stand Test: Requires the driver to stand for 30 seconds on one foot

In addition to these tests, a driver maybe asked to perform such tests to prove their sobriety such as patting one hand to the other, bringing their finger to their nose while their head is tilted backwards, estimating the passage of time with closed eyes, or counting fingers with the same hand.

Each of these tests requires exact steps to be followed by the officer conducting them and scoring them. There are also many things that can affect the outcome of the test:

  • Surface of the road
  • Amount of light or noise level present
  • Existing physical and mental impairments
  • Movement of the police officer
  • Timing
  • Clothing of the accused
  • Incorrect instructions
  • Environmental conditions
  • Other causes of coordination difficulties

If you have been charged with a DUI after failing a field sobriety test, contact a San Diego DUI attorney at our firm to review your case and the tests administered. This is a key factor in your defense and it is important that you act rapidly.

What happens if I fail a CA field sobriety test?

It is important to know that unless you have been placed under arrest, you do not have to perform any of the tests that are asked of you, including field sobriety tests and portable breath tests. The only time you must give law enforcement any sample is after you have been formally arrested. While police will not generally let you know that these tests are optional, these tests solely act as evidence against you to prove your intoxication.

If you have failed a field sobriety test it is still possible to have a successful outcome from your DUI case. Attorney Mark R. De Yoe has been helping people for over 30 years, many who reportedly failed a field sobriety test. He knows exactly what to look for in the conducting and scoring of the tests and will be able to isolate any errors. It is possible when the tests are improperly administered to have a DUI charge completely dismissed.

Contact our San Diego DUI law firm so we can review your DUI case and determine how we can help you fight these accusations.