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Do Standardized Field Sobriety Tests Really Determine If Someone Is Impaired?


These are not pass or fail tests. An officer has to make a determination on whether they are going to arrest someone based on the observations these tests provide. If they don’t have evidence that a suspect is intoxicated, they should not make an arrest. Many times, if an officer is unsure based on observations of appearance and behavior, these tests and breath testing devices become the deciding factor. The breath testing given after field sobriety tests is considered a preliminary breath test. You are not required to submit to this testing. If you do submit and your BAC is 0.08 or greater, you will be arrested for DUI.

Are Standardized Field Sobriety Tests Admissible In Court?

Typically, unless something was done to violate someone’s rights during the tests or during the traffic stop and resulting arrest, field sobriety tests will be admitted as evidence in court.

Are Standardized Field Sobriety Tests Generally Recorded? Can They Help My Case?

Many traffic stops in California are now recorded, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area, in almost all of the counties from NAPA, Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco, San Matteo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano. It depends upon which police agency is involved in the stop. Many times even police agencies with body or dash cameras somehow miss the footage of the suspect performing field sobriety tests. Whether or not video footage would help your case would depend on how you performed on the tests.

For more information on Testing For Impairment With Sobriety Tests, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 523-7878 today.

Aaron Bortel

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