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Field Sobriety Tests in a Modesto DUI Case

Are these tests reliable?

If a police officer assumes that you are under the influence of alcohol, then they have a right to pull you over and ask you to subject to a field sobriety test. Standardized field sobriety tests are regulated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which outlines three generic tests that are used to determine a person's sobriety on the spot. These tests, although widely used, are not foolproof, and there are faults with them. If you feel that you were wrongfully arrested because of an inaccurate field sobriety test, then it is important that you contact Scott Mitchell Law Incorporated today.

Standardized field sobriety tests are pretty straightforward, and many people have probably seen them being performed on television or at a routine DUI checkpoint. These tests generally consist of one or more of the following:

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
During this test, the officer will ask the suspect to follow a pen or flashlight with their eyes horizontally. A person who is not impaired by alcohol, will have a slight jerking movement to their eyes that is involuntary. If someone is intoxicated, their nystagmus jerking will be exaggerated and they may have a difficult time following a moving object with a steady gaze.

Walk and Turn
This simple test requires a suspect to walk, heel to toe, along a straight line, and when they reach a designated point, they will stop, turn, and repeat the process. People who are under the influence will have a difficult time listening to the instructions and performing the tests. If the suspect cannot keep their balance, has difficulty remembering instructions, or stops and uses excessive arm movements to keep their balance, they may be considered to be intoxicated.

One-Leg Stand
This is one of the most difficult tests for an intoxicated individual to follow. The officer will ask the suspect to listen to instructions and stand on one leg while counting out loud until they are asked to stand with both feet on the ground again. Usually, the time allotted is about 30 seconds. Most individuals will not be able to stand for longer than a few seconds without having to put their foot down.

Faults with Sobriety Tests in Modesto, CA

Although these tests are widely used to help determine if a person is under the influence of alcohol before being asked to submit to a blood or breath test, there are actually full of faults. People who take these tests are usually exposed to the elements, including rain and wind, that may make a balancing test difficult. Also, many people can be naturally clumsy or have nerves take over and cause them to fail a test. These tests are used to determine any person's sobriety but don't take health concerns and other ailments that may affect the test fully into consideration.

If you feel that you were wrongfully arrested or you were stopped unlawfully by an officer, it is important that you contact an attorney in Modesto. These tests are designed to be one-size-fits-all but they can be greatly unfair. It is important that you work with Scott Mitchell Law Incorporated to help you retain your rights and protect your freedom.

Contact our firm today to speak with an attorney and to schedule a free case evaluation. You deserve representation, and we can help!

Fees and Payments

Here at Scott Mitchell Law Incorporated, when it comes to fees and payments, we strive to be flexible with clients who are seeking legal representation. We offer payment arrangements, flat fee contracts, and traditional retainer agreements. We understand legal representation is necessary for all, and yet difficult for most to pay the fees all at once. Although we cannot guarantee that everyone will be able to hire us, we do promise to do what we can to make it possible for you to hire one of our attorneys to represent you.