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Numbers Backward Test

Field Sobriety TestsCounting numbers backward is one of many field sobriety tests used by California police officers including members of the California Highway Patrol (CHP), or sheriff's deputies investigating a suspected DUI driver. Although many motorists believe that "passing" this test will prevent a drunk driving arrest, the truth is that the officer makes that decision long before the test begins. The test results serve solely to provide probable cause for an arrest and evidence for a DUI criminal court and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) hearing.

No matter how the driver charged with a DUI feels he or she performed on a field sobriety test, our experienced DUI attorneys are prepared to help. The Law Offices of Robert Tayac, located in San Francisco Bay Area, an experienced law firm of DUI lawyers specializing in DUI defense exclusively. We invite you to contact our office for a free consultation about your California DUI case and DMV driver's license suspension hearing.

The numbers backward test is such a poor indicator of physical and mental impairment from alcohol that it is not even recognized by the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHSTA). There is no objective scoring system, and the officer's opinion determines whether the driver "passes" or "fails."

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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, such as the numbers backward test, 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.

The officer begins the numbers backward test by directing the driver to wait until he or she finishes the instructions. The motorist is then instructed to count from one to 10, then back down to one. Sometimes the driver may be instructed to begin at 100 or 1,000, and required to count backward until told to stop.

The numbers backward test and other field sobriety exercises are divided attention tests, meaning they are designed to split the driver's focus between two tasks. During the test, the officer watches the driver for signs of intoxication, including an inability to follow instructions, an inability to count, swaying or other balance problems, or starting or stopping the test too early.

However, clearly there are many reasons why a driver may perform badly on this test. Nervousness, fatigue, illness, or injury can prevent a motorist from executing the test "correctly." Sometimes the officer doesn't administer the test properly or do a good job of explaining the instructions. Also, the numbers backward test is extremely subjective, meaning the results can be interpreted in more than one way. An experienced DUI lawyer can successfully challenge the results of a field sobriety test.

Many drivers who do not perform well on the numbers backward test fear an automatic conviction, but that's simply not the case. The bottom line is that counting backward and other field sobriety tests can be successfully challenged in court. The best way to fight a California driving under the influence case is with the help of a California attorney with experience defending DUI cases.

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