Orange County Criminal Lawyers
Field Sobriety Tests in Brea
If you are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol in the city of Brea, a police officer can ask you to take a field sobriety test (FST). The FST is usually a battery of 3 tests meant to gauge your level of alcohol impairment and is one of the factors used by law enforcement, prosecutors, and courts to make an arrest and decide on a DUI conviction.
Poor performance in any of these tests is deemed to be a sign that a person is not in the right mental and physical state to drive, due to the consumption of alcohol. Because the driver’s performance on the various tests are determined by the officer, FSTs are thought to be administered mainly to collect evidence against the supsected drunk driver. As such, the results of a BAC test are far more reliable in court.Conditions for field sobriety testing
The NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration) is responsible for issuing law enforcement protocols for DUI field sobriety testing. The NHTSA ensures that the 3 standard tests used in the FST are properly conducted and used. The 3 standard tests include:
- The walk-and-turn test,
- The one-leg stand test and
- The HGN or horizontal gaze nystagmus test
There are several other non-standard tests that law enforcement officers use to determine a person’s level of intoxication. These include; The Hand Pat Field Sobriety Test, The Finger-to-Nose Field Sobriety Test, The Finger Count Field Sobriety Test and so on. The Hand Pat Field Sobriety Test consists of extending your hand, palm side up. Your other hand will go on top, palm side down. Then, you would be asked to rotate the hand on top to touch the hand on the bottom with the back of your hand, and start to count. Then, you would rotate again so that the top palm comes into contact with the bottom palm. This is when you would continue counting onto the next number, until the officer instructs you to stop. The Finger-to-Nose Field Sobriety Test is when the person suspected of substance use is instructed to put the tip of their index finger on the tip of their nose while their eyes are closed and their head is tilted back. The operator of the vehicle would be told to do this several times, on both hands. During The Finger Count Field Sobriety Test, you will be instructed to put one of your arms in front of you with your palm facing towards the front. Then, you would use your thumb to touch each of your other fingers while counting. During all of these tests, officers will look for your ability to comprehend and follow the instructions and whether or not you follow them correctly.
Although field sobriety tests are widely used by law enforcement, there are many issues surrounding these tests. FST detractors say that the tests are unreliable and flawed.
With this in mind, it is important that you have a defense attorney to represent you if you are arrested for during a field sobriety test in Brea. An experienced DUI attorney, like the ones at the Johnson Criminal Law Group, can help you avoid charges being brought against you in the first place or help you to mitigate the consequences of a conviction. Call us now to get your defense started.