There are only three field sobriety tests recognized by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as “valid” standardized tests. However, to be “valid” these tests must be administered by the officer in the manner prescribed and standardized by NHTSA.
The three standard tests are:
While the police officer may have given you other tests, these are the only three tests that have been validated by the NHTSA. Police officers use these tests as a means to indicate whether you have been driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Physical conditions that affect your brain, eyes or parts of your body that involves standing or walking may negatively affect your performance on these tests, whether you have consumed alcohol or not.
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If the police asked you to step out of the car and had you follow a stimulus with your eyes, they were administering the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test.
During this field sobriety test, the officer is looking for the following symptoms:
Nystagmus can be caused by many things other than intoxication. Nystagmus can also be caused by head injuries, rotation of the body, objects moving into and out of sight, traffic driving by, strobe lights, tired eyes, brain tumors, brain damage, and inner ear disorders, to name a few.
Picture an “imaginary line.” It’s not so easy, is it? Now picture a police officer quickly throwing countless instructions at you with no opportunity to practice! This is the Walk and Turn field sobriety test. Imagining a straight line (or on an actual line), you must take nine heel-to-toe steps up then back, count each step out loud, keep your hands at your sides, keep your eyes watching your feet, and turn correctly.
If you do more than one of any of the following, you have failed:
As in the Walk and Turn, with the One-Leg Stand field sobriety test, you receive quick instructions with no chance to practice first. You must do the following: raise one leg six inches off the ground, keeping both legs straight with your raised foot parallel to the ground, keeping your arms at your sides while counting, “one thousand and one, one thousand and two” and so forth until told to stop.
You fail the test if you do more than one of these occurs:
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Washington State has some of the toughest DUI laws in our nation. These laws carry increasingly severe penalties for those who drink and drive. Washington lowered the BAC limit from .10 to 0.08 in January of 1999. Drivers with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) at .08 or above can now be convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol. In addition, because public sentiment is so very negative toward drunk drivers, prosecutors will often pursue a DUI conviction even when the driver’s test result is well under .08! This is possible because they can obtain a conviction if they can show the person drove while “affected by” alcohol, and/or marijuana or any drug, including prescription or over-the-counter medications.
Before you were asked to step out of your vehicle, the officer has been gathering evidence to support the arrest.
Field Sobriety Tests
As Ms. Callahan likes to call them “Bad Science”, FST’s are virtually impossible to pass, especially if the officer is the one grading you.
Factory trained, Linda M. Callahan understands the science behind breath testing most attorneys don’t.
With extensive training at Axion Labs in Chicago, Linda M. Callahan has the relevant experience to challenge Blood test evidence.
Attorney Linda M. Callahan is a trained NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Test Administrator. If the officer improperly administered your tests, or if they were not done voluntarily, she will vigorously cross-examine the officer for his or her sloppy lack of attention to proper procedures and failure to conduct the tests in the required manner. This can seriously undermine the officer’s credibility and could lead to an acquittal, dismissal or a reduced charge
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