STRONG LEGAL GUIDANCE FROM A FORMER PROSECUTOR
One of the tactics law enforcement officers use to determine if someone has been driving while impaired is a field sobriety test. These tests are inherently flawed, however, and are typically unfair to those accused of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. If you’ve been subjected to a field sobriety test and are facing DUI charges, speak with a knowledgeable Sacramento defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Alin Cintean. We delve into the details of your arrest and find the best legal options for you, challenging the tests that led to your arrest. To work with an attorney who is familiar with all types of DUI charges, call on us.
THE USE OF FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS IN CALIFORNIA
Law enforcement officers commonly use field sobriety tests to determine if a driver has been operating a motor vehicle while impaired due to drugs or alcohol. In California, police officers have the right to request a field sobriety, blood or breath test if they suspect someone of driving under the influence. It’s important to note, however, that field sobriety tests are voluntary, and thus drivers may opt out of them in favor of another type of sobriety test.
Studies have suggested that police officers conduct field sobriety tests incorrectly up to 95 percent of the time. There are a number of factors that could lead an individual to fail one of these tests, including poor balance, drowsiness, back or leg injuries, distractions, stress, inner ear infections and certain prescription medications. Thus, it’s important for your criminal law attorney to question the results of this test, especially if it served as the primary cause of your DUI arrest.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has approved several field sobriety tests for use by law enforcement officers across the country. These tests include the following:
- HGN testing. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) is the involuntary jerking that eyes do naturally when you look to the side. When intoxicated, however, this jerking becomes exaggerated, and you may lack the ability to follow an object smoothly from side to side.
- Divided attention testing. Commonly referred to as the “walk and turn” test, this involves a police officer asking you questions as you perform simple physical tasks, such as walking in a straight line. A typical walk and turn test includes taking nine steps, heel to toe, and then turning around and repeating the task in the opposite direction.
- One-leg stand. In this test, you will be asked to stand on one leg while counting to 30. As you do so, officers check to make sure you don’t sway or lean more than a typical unimpaired person would.
There are also some alternative testing methods California patrol officers use, such as reciting the alphabet, picking up coins off the ground, counting backwards and touching your index finger to the tip of your nose.
CONSULT A SKILLED DUI DEFENSE ATTORNEY IN SACRAMENTO
To speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to assist with all issues related to field sobriety tests, call the Law Offices of Alin Cintean at (916) 441-3500 or contact us online. We are available nearly 24 hours a day and our office is conveniently located in downtown Sacramento. We’ll meet with you personally to closely review your case and offer you dependable legal advice and guidance.