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What Is Standardized Field Sobriety Testing?


Standardized field sobriety testing is the procedure used by police officers when they have pulled someone over and they suspect that person is under the influence of alcohol. The officers use three tests that the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration have determined to give guidance in determining whether or not an arrest is warranted for driving under the influence of alcohol. One is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, one is the walk and turn test, known as “walk the line”, and the last is the one leg stand test, where you stand on one leg and balance your body for a certain amount of time. These tests are not mandatory, but officers rarely inform suspects of this fact.

Can I Contact An Attorney Before I Go Ahead And Do The Field Sobriety Tests?

It is extremely rare for an officer to allow a DUI suspect to contact an attorney. Once someone is arrested for a DUI, only if the officer wants to ask them additional questions that can be used against them in a criminal case would he need to read the person their Miranda Rights. At that point the person would be told that they do have a right to a lawyer if they are going to answer further questions.

What Happens If I Refuse To Perform One Or More Sobriety Tests?

You are not required by law to perform any of these tests. Officers look at several factors when considering whether or not to make an arrest for DUI. Officers will observe the quality of your driving, your demeanor, the possible odor of an alcoholic beverage, your gait, and the appearance of your eyes. They will take everything into account, including any sobriety tests that were performed. Also, officers should be asking suspects, before giving these standardized tests, if they have any injuries. If they’ve had any injuries that could compromise the outcome of these tests, then the tests should not be given. In the case of a refusal, it would be up to the officer to consider all observations in deciding whether or not to arrest a suspect.

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

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