Justia Lawyer Rating
badge - California DUI Lawyers Association
badge - California Public Defenders Association
badge - Sacramento County Bar Association
badge - The State Bar of California
badge - United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Field Sobriety Tests Can Be Unreliable

If you pulled over by the police under suspicion of DUI, you may be instructed to perform a field sobriety test. Most people are aware of these tests and think they are reliable tests of intoxication, but in truth, they are not. A Sacramento DUI defense attorney can help you understand why.

At least one group of scientists has said that there is no study that links the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests to driving impairment. In addition, neither the U.S. Department of Transportation nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims that the use of standardized field sobriety tests provides actual direct indicators of driving impairment. On the contrary, they specifically state that operating a motor vehicle is complex and involves many tasks and operations, and it is unlikely that complex human performance of this kind can be accurately measured at roadside.

One study even said, “Even valid behavioral tests are likely to be poor predictors of actual behind-the-wheel driving.”

Some police agencies agree that some of the standardized field sobriety tests are not reliably accurate ways to measure driving impairment, especially in the case of the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. The California Highway Patrol considers the horizontal gaze nystagmus test to not be a psychophysical test and that the indicators associated with this test are not considered accurate signs of impairment.

If you have further questions about the validity of field sobriety tests, contact Sacramento DUI defense attorney Param Pabla for an initial consultation.

Client Reviews
“Mr. Pabla represented me with my DUI case. He has excellent communication skills and always kept me informed. Mr. Pabla made sure I understood the process and my rights. He eased my mind through a very stressful situation. I highly recommend Mr. Pabla.” Gurpreet
“I am so happy with the service that I received from Param S. Pabla. Jarrett did a great job solving my legal issue and I can’t recommend him enough! He was able to do everything quickly, painlessly, and was ALWAYS available to talk when I needed him. If I ever need help again, I will definitely use him!" Boris
“Param was excellent in my court case of failure to stop at a stop sign. The officer could not see clearly because he was too far away. The officer insisted he could and said he had video but could not produce it at the trial. The officer then asked if he could suspend the trial to go get the video but the judge said he should have had plenty of time to get the video ready beforehand. Needless to say, the judge ruled in my favor and dismissed the case which enraged the officer. Pabla Param’s defense and cross examination skills were excellent and paramount in having the case dismissed. Highly recommended.” T.C.
“My husband and I needed to update everything -family trust, will, medical stuff. Param was really patient -answering all my questions -even when I asked them twice. He wanted to be sure I understood everything we were doing. All docs were sent to us so we could go through them on our own time before anything was finalized. I also liked when we were looking at medical stuff that he had a conversation with me about what I wanted and pointed out some things I didn’t think of.” Debbie