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Non-Standardized FST

Field Sobriety TestsCalifornia police investigating a driver for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) offense typically conduct a field sobriety test before the arrest. These agility exercises shouldn't even be called tests, because they are designed to be failed. Their true purpose is to create probable cause for a drunk driving arrest and generate evidence for a criminal court. Any motorist subjected to a field sobriety test before being arrested for a DUI or DWI should contact a California criminal attorney who focuses on defending DUI cases.

Field sobriety tests fall into two different categories - standardized and non-standardized tests. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recognized three standardized tests - the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk and turn test, and the one-leg stand test.

A non-standardized field sobriety tests are so unreliable that they aren't even recognized by the NHTSA. However, despite the fact that these tests aren't considered accurate indicators of alcohol impairment, they are still used by police. These include the Rhomberg balance test, the finger-to-nose test, the finger tap or finger-count test, the hand pat test, the ABCs, and the numbers backward test.

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Attorneys for the firm represent clients accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or driving with a blood alcohol level at or above the legal limit in San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Alameda, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Sonoma and Napa counties.

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The results of non-standardized field sobriety tests can be successfully challenged in court, because they are not regarded as accurate indicators of intoxication. Although these tests are designed to measure mental and physical impairment from alcohol use, many of these signs can be traced to physical problems that other than alcohol.

Experts agree that alcohol always causes mental impairment to occur before physical impairment. Some individuals have a high tolerance for alcohol that masks signs of physical impairment, but mental impairment can never be disguised. If a driver is physically impaired but not mentally impaired, the physical problem must come from something other than alcohol. This aspect of drunk-driving defense is key for anyone facing a Driving Under the Influence (DUI), or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charge.

A highly experienced California DUI lawyer knows that the inherent flaws in non-standardized field sobriety tests create problems for prosecutors, and doubt in the minds of jurors. It is important to keep in mind that the prosecutor bears the burden of proving a driver's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in order to secure a DUI conviction.

Many conditions other than alcohol intoxication can create the appearance of physical impairment, including injury, illness, fatigue, or nervousness. By taking a complete medical history, an experienced California DUI lawyer with expert technical support can determine whether any physical impairment stems from causes other than alcohol impairment. Ultimately, the results of field sobriety tests can be successfully challenged.

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