Sacramento DUI Attorney Param Pabla Discusses Standardized Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests are less reliable than chemical tests for determining a subject’s blood alcohol content. Instead of directly measuring a person’s blood alcohol, field sobriety tests attempt to gauge intoxication using indicators like balance, memory, and ability to understand directions.
Although field sobriety tests as a whole are less reliable than chemical tests, even within this category, there is some variety. In 1977, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration studied several field sobriety tests and determined that three were useful as a determination of impairment. These three tests are referred to as the “standardized field sobriety tests.” They are:
- The one-leg stand test;
- The walk-and-turn test; and
- The horizontal gaze nystagmus test.
In practice, police officers rarely restrict themselves to these three tests. They routinely offer batteries of tests that haven’t been shown to predict impairment. Some of the more common non-standardized tests Sacramento DUI attorneys encounter include:
- The finger-to-nose test;
- Counting backwards;
- Reciting the alphabet;
- Stating the date and time;
- Answering distracting questions;
- The finger count test; and
- A handwriting test.
If you believe that the filed sobriety tests used in your case were scientifically invalid, an experienced Sacramento DUI attorney may be able to discredit them during cross-examination or have them excluded from evidence. For an evaluation of your DUI case, please call (916) 285-7900 for an initial consultation with Sacramento drunk driving lawyer Param S. Pabla.