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Riverside County Drunk Driving

Riverside County DUI Field Sobriety Tests

Field Sobriety TestsA series of tests called the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) were specifically developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for law enforcement officers to perform on DUI suspects. These tests are designed to assess a person’s ability to perform certain tasks. The tests include; the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), the walk-and-turn test (WAT) and the one-leg stand (OLS) test.

When a police officer in Riverside County suspects an individual of driving under the influence, the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test is usually the first field sobriety test given by the officer. The DUI suspect is asked to follow a moving object, such as a flashlight, finger tip or tip of a pen with his or her eyes, from side to side. The law enforcement officer will observe how the eyes track the object and will look for any noticeable jerking of the eyes that specifically occur between 0- 45 degrees from center. Four clues in this test which include eye jerks or spasms will be considered signs of driving impairment and possible intoxication.

The Riverside County law enforcement officer may also conduct the Walk and Turn test, which requires that the DUI suspect take nine steps, heel-to-toe, while walking a straight line. The ability of the DUI suspect to follow instructions while performing this task is also evaluated. Any observed inability to perform these actions could lead to a request for chemical testing.

The third DUI field sobriety test often given by Riverside County law enforcement requires that the DUI suspect stand on one foot only, while counting out loud for 30 seconds. Placing a foot down on the ground before being instructed to do so, waving arms for balance, hopping or swaying will result in test failure.

Essentially, the Standardized Field Sobriety Test involve screening tests that only detect perceived impairment, which must be followed-up by a specific test for measuring blood alcohol content. If an individual fails one or more of the field sobriety tests, the drunk driving arresting law enforcement officer will request that the DUI suspect take a breath alcohol test or a blood alcohol test. Refusal to take a breath or blood test in the state of California can mean a one year driver’s license suspension or revocation for two or three years.

Factors such as prescription medications taken by the DUI suspect, orthopedic leg and back diseases, joint or ankle pain and arthritis in the suspect can all affect the outcome of the walk and turn and the one-leg stand tests, causing false and failing results. Conditions under which the field sobriety tests are given should also be considered, such as weather conditions and conditions of roadway or location where the DUI field sobriety tests are being performed.

When preparing a DUI drunk driving defense case, an experienced Riverside County DUI lawyer will closely explore any or all of these possibilities. Many qualified Riverside County DUI attorneys have gone through training in administering Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and know the Standardized Field Sobriety Test much better than the Riverside County law enforcement officer administering the test. This can aid you in any defenses to your DUI case.

More Information:

The 10 Day Rule
BAC Levels
License Suspension
What to ask a DUI lawyer
The DUI process

RiversideCountyDUIinformation.com is an informational website provided by a top Riverside County DUI lawyer to help those charged with drunk driving in these Riverside County cities: Banning, Beaumont, Blythe, Calimesa, Cathedral City, Coachella, Corona, Desert Hot Springs, Hemet, Indian Wells, Indio, La Quinta, Lake, Lake Elsinore, Moreno Valley, Murrieta, Norco, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Perris, Rancho Mirage, Riverside, San Jacinto and Temecula.