Field Sobriety Test
Field sobriety tests were created in 1982 by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration to give police officers a consistent, standardized and reliable method to determine the intoxication level of a driver.
When a police officer suspects that a driver is intoxicated, the officer will administer a field sobriety test. Some field sobriety tests can be refused, while others cannot.
By law, you agree to take one of these three field sobriety tests when you sign for your drivers’ license; breathalyzer test, blood test, or urine test. Other field sobriety tests include the performance of physical or cognitive tests that help an officer determine sobriety by having the driver perform tasks simultaneously, which is generally difficult for an intoxicated person.
Of the many field sobriety tests, only three have been established by the NHTSA; walking in a straight line and turning around, standing on one leg while counting, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus.
Officers may, however, also administer non-standardized tests, which could include; tipping your head backwards with your feet together, counting the number of fingers an officer reveals, and reciting the alphabet or portions thereof, and counting backwards, among others.
The tests musts be administered with adequate lighting, and on dry, level ground for these field sobriety tests to be viable in court. If weather conditions prohibit these specific tests, the officer may only use the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.
If you would like to discuss your field sobriety test, please contact our Chico office to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced DUI attorneys.