Field Sobriety Tests

Field Sobriety Tests

Field Sobriety Tests


Law enforcement personnel use field sobriety tests to determine if a person they suspect of being impaired is actually so by either drugs or alcohol. If police suspect that the driver they have pulled over is indeed impaired, they may request the driver to take a series of field sobriety tests before they arrest the individual for a DUI.

Only the officer at the scene will determine whether one has passed or failed the FSTs. Closely watching the driver’s balance, motor skills and coordination, only the officer decides if the suspect has followed all of the instructions correctly. If the officer feels the suspect is intoxicated, it is safe to presume that the police report will have the suspect failing most, if not all of the field sobriety tests.

Three Standardized Field Sobriety Tests


The field sobriety tests are regulated by the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration At the moment, there are just three field sobriety tests the NHSTA standardizes, which include:

  • One Leg Stand
  • Walk and Turn
  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)

Inaccuracies Inherent in Field Sobriety Tests


While the majority of people think that field sobriety tests are completely reliable predictors of blood alcohol level and/or impairment, field sobriety tests do have faults just like other measures of gauging one’s BAC such as the breathalyzer. Poor performance on FSTs can be attributable to a host of reasons aside from intoxication and can include:

  • Road conditions are slippery
  • Lighting is poor
  • Inadequate instructions by tester
  • Person has medical conditions that affect their coordination

San Bernardino and Riverside County DUI Attorneys


As being charged with a DUI can have serious repercussions on a person’s personal and professional life, it is very important that any person facing a DUI charge consult with a local attorney familiar with DUI cases who can evaluate the evidence and come up with an aggressive defense.

Our Results Speak for Themselves

Client charged with DUI after witness called into 911 reporting drunk driver who crashed in a residential neighborhood. Negotiated a reckless driving plea for client and also successfully stopped the license suspension by by winning the DMV hearing. (People v. Elysse F.)

Client faced felony DUI charges after getting into car accident while intoxicated. Faced up to 3 years in prison, and an additional 3 years for great bodily injury enhancement. Negotiated misdemeanor deal without any jail or  community service and avoided the 1 year license suspension. (People v. Sherrie D.)

First time DUI charge dismissed against driver stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence. Negotiated dry reckless for client prior to trial. (People v. Derrick J.)

Felony charges for DUI against client for a t- bone collision in intersection. Defendant ran from the scene and charged with hit and run. Previous attorney had negotiated felony plea with credit for time served. Took over representation and negotiated misdemeanor sentence without jail time or community service when trial date was set. (People v. Dennis A.)

Client stopped for DUI after officer allegedly saw vehicle commit Vehicle Code violations. Client’s blood alcohol pattern (rising blood) provided a defense and DUI dismissed, with client admitting dry reckless charge. (People v. Michael T.)