Non-standardized Field Sobriety Tests
Besides the NHTSA sponsored tests, other physical and verbal field sobriety tests are used to measure intoxication. Physical performance tests measure balance, while verbal tests measure mental acuity. Although officers typically administer the NHTSA field sobriety tests, sometimes nontraditional tests are used to supplement the standardized tests.
There are several physical performance field sobriety tests that measure coordination. For example, standing at attention for 30 seconds to monitor body sway. The test is unreliable because studies show that drinking does not significantly affect body sway until nearly three hours after the cessation of drinking. Another example is picking up coins from the ground. This measures eye-hand coordination and balance. Other tests can include rapidly touching the thumb to the tip of each finger on the same hand, or patting the palm of one hand with the palm and back of the other.
DUI – Hand Writing
One type of non-standardized physical field sobriety test is writing the alphabet. In theory, intoxication will cause careless penmanship. Of course, this is also the result of speed, nervousness or the type of writing utensil. An effective trial technique is comparing the defendant’s signature on the night of the arrest with other signatures, such as driver’s license, booking slip, bail receipt or citation. If there is little variation, the evidence of intoxication is diminished. A more risky technique is finding discrepancies in the officer’s signature. The DUI defense attorney should compare the handwriting on the night of the arrest with police reports in other cases. Since the officer was sober when signing these documents, any signature variation is excellent evidence to prove the test is flawed.
There are several verbal field sobriety tests that can be administered. The most common is reciting the alphabet without singing the song; or conversely, reciting the alphabet backwards. Another verbal test is counting backwards between two designated numbers. In some circumstances, test failures are the result of mental deficiencies or inadequate education, and in other instances the defendant attempts to illustrate sobriety by disobeying the officer’s specific instructions.
After DUI Arrest
After you have been arrested for suspicion for driving under influence of intoxicating substance your license will be confiscated and you will be taken to a county jail and booked. Before booking you again will be required to submit to a chemical test, either a blood test or a breathalyzer test, your choice. This one you cannot refuse. If you refuse to take any test you will be physically held and blood will be drawn by the nursing staff.
You then will be searched and escorted into a “drunk tank” for the purposes of sobering up. You will then be fingerprinted, your “mug shot” will be taken, depending on your situation you may be released without a bond. Though most individuals are released without a bond, some instances will require it. The whole process can take anywhere from 12 to 24 hours.
After you have been released, you need to locate an experienced attorney who will discuss your individual situation and determine the course of action. It will not be hard, as you will begin received letters from local DUI attorneys. There are deadlines that you must be aware of.
Since your driver’s license was confiscated you will need to request a hearing with the DMV within 10 days of your arrest. Failing to do so can result in an a suspension of your license for a significant period of time. During that hearing you can request a restricted license.
Next get ready for the court process. You will have to get ready for your first hearing, which is called the arraignment. The arraignment is the hearing where you enter a plea – guilty/not guilty/no contest. You will not be able to argue your case at this hearing, the judge will not hear anything other than your plea. If you already retained the services of an attorney he or she will handle this hearing. You do not have to appear. If you do not have an attorney, do not plead guilty, you can fight your DUI. A plea of not guilty will get you a jury trial, during which you can make a defense arguments.
Without an experienced attorney by your side you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. To protect your rights and improve your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome for your case, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced DUI attorney.
Contact a DUI Attorney in Sacramento for Legal Representation
California law enforcement has been cracking down on DUI’s. Being convicted of a DUI can have serious implications on your life. The Law Offices of Alin Cintean is dedicated to fight your case and ensure any consequences are minimized if you are under the age of 21. Give us a call at (916) 441-3500 to speak to a DUI attorney in Sacramento.