DUI Field Sobriety Testing
Most people stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs in California don't know that field sobriety testing is optional. The police fail to mention that the testing is not mandatory because the test results will be used as evidence against you by the prosecution. You have the right to refuse to submit to any field sobriety test, and refusal does not conflict with the implied consent laws.Before You Talk to Police, Call a Skilled Defense Lawyer
You also have the right to refuse breathalyzer and blood tests. However, if you refuse a blood or breath test, your driver's license will be automatically suspended. As a skilled DUI defense lawyer, I, John Stanko, will advise you of your legal options and ways you can protect your rights. Contact my Marin County DUI defense law firm to learn more.Standardized and Non-Standardized Field Sobriety Tests
The following are the DUI field tests commonly accepted as "scientific" and used by officers during a traffic stop:
- Horizontal Gaze (Nystagmus): Officer positions a finger or pen about a foot from a driver's face, moving it from side to side while watching their eyes for jerking or trembling movements.
- Walk and turn: Officer instructs a driver to take nine to twelve heel-to-toe steps on a line, turn and repeat them back, looking for mistakes or loss of balance.
- One-leg stand: Driver stands with heels together, arms against their sides and counts out loud while raising one leg six inches off the ground, testing their balance.
Other, non- standardized field sobriety tests that can be used to support a police officer's highly subjective opinion that you were driving under the influence can include the Rhomberg balance test, finger-to-nose or finger counting test, hand clap test and alphabet test.The Truth about Field Sobriety Test Results
Even people who are sober, particularly diabetics and others with certain medical conditions, can fail a field sobriety test. Gender, age, weight, illness or anxiety can affect your balance, concentration and performance. Breath and blood tests performed in the field involve devices requiring sensitive calibration and other maintenance and environmental factors that can taint the test results which indicate intoxication.
At my practice, I am intimately familiar with the procedures, problems, and other issues associated with field sobriety testing and breath, urine and blood testing for blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If hired as your defense attorney, I will work hard to help you fight your DUI charges in criminal court, represent you at any license suspension hearing at the DMV, and help you avoid penalties and punishments for drunk drivingBegin the Fight Against DUI Charges Today
Don't let a DUI field sobriety test compromise your rights and your freedom. For your free consultation and evaluation of your criminal case, call toll free at 1-877-204-8900, or contact me online at the Law Office of John Stanko, Inc. in San Rafael or Vallejo, California.
For more information about ways to defend against drunk driving charges, see our DUI Information Center. For answers to frequently asked questions about driving under the influence charges, see our DUI FAQs.