Field Sobriety Tests 101

The defense of a driving under the influence charge is a highly technical and an extremely difficult undertaking. There are many advantages that a Seattle DUI attorney can bring to a case.

Most DUI cases begin with an officer requesting that the defendant take a set of voluntary field sobriety tests (FST). The FST’s are given by police officers to determine if an individual has been operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or both. Field sobriety tests frequently consist of the ‘gaze nystagmus test,’ the ‘one-leg stand,’ test, the ‘walk and turn’ test, and may include other tests. If you are stopped by the police for a suspected DUI, you need to know that you are not required to take these or any field sobriety tests. What is more important to know, a Seattle DUI lawyer will be able to explain how these FST’s lack scientific merit and are invalid, and will always recommend that you refuse to take these voluntary tests.

Unlike a chemical test such as a blood alcohol test, where the refusal to take such a test can have far-reaching and negative consequences, an individual is not legally required to take any field sobriety tests. Reality is that police officers have typically made up their minds to arrest the individual when they administer one of more of the field sobriety tests. In a word, field sobriety tests provide additional evidence that the driver inevitably ‘fails.’ As a result, in most cases the Washington DUI attorney, will advise his clients to politely refuse to take any field sobriety tests.

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