DUI Attorneys in Sarasota

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Field Sobriety Tests for DUI in Sarasota

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) created a standard model for Field Sobriety Tests (FST) for DUI in 1981. Any Sarsota DUI attorney can tell you that the the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) is composed of three examinations:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test

The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test involves following an object, which could be anything like a pen, to determine one’s characteristic eye movement reaction. This eye movement and ability to follow objects are needed skills in driving.

  • Walk-and-Turn (Heel-to-Toe in a straight line)

The idea of the test is, if you are not under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you should be able to follow directions properly and remember a series of steps while being able to divide your attention between mental and physical tasks.

  • One-Leg Stand

As the name says, you stand either with your left or right leg and maintain balance, and vice versa.

The NHTSA suggests that all law enforcement agencies must use this SFST because it is the most reliable among all field tests. The Standardized Field Sobriety Test is designed to make proper DUI arrests. If field tests used are not standardized, they may be questioned and challenged for use by a Sarsota DUI lawyer in defense of a DUI offender.

Officers must be properly trained to administer and interpret SFSTs. The tests must be administered under specific circumstances and should be followed using strict guidelines. In the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s data back in 1998, the tests were 91% accurate in Driving Under Influence (DUI) cases. The arresting law enforcer was wrong 9 times out of every 100 Field Sobriety Tests conducted. NHSTA studies show that the walk-and-turn test was only 68% accurate, while the one-leg stand test was 65% accurate. Tests must be validated even for people with medical conditions and injuries that do not let them properly execute the field tests. Proper conducting and interpreting on the part of the enforcer is very much required. Otherwise, in defense of the suspected, the Standardized Field Sobriety Test may be challenged. Your DUI lawyer will know. To speak with an experienced DUI attorney in Sarasota, visit http://www.sarasotaduiattorney.net and get a free consultation regarding your DUI case.


Alternative Field Sobriety Tests

Law enforcement officers suspecting you for DUI charges may also use these alternative field tests. These tests, unlike the SFST, are not scientifically validated.

  • Modified-Position-of-Attention (Romberg Test)

You will be asked to keep your feet together, rest your head back, and close your eyes for about half a minute. This is to test your ability to keep still and stay focused.

  • Finger-to-Nose Test

The officer will ask you to tip your head back while keeping your eyes shut, then you will be asked to touch the tip of your nose using your index finger.

  • Finger Count

When counting (1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 3, 2, 1), you will have to touch each finger with the thumb of the same hand.

  • Preliminary Breath Tester (PBT) or Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS)

You will be asked to breathe into a portable preliminary breath tester, or the PBT.

Again, these are just a few of the FSTs conducted, but the SFST is still the most appropriate because it is the only test that is approved by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

According to the NHTSA, these tests are not designed to detect impairment, but rather to give a probability that a driver has about 0.08 or higher Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). However, there is still dispute and debate on the validity of using Field Sobriety Tests for DUI arrests.

If you have been accused or charged of a DUI, contact a DUI attorney in Sarasota immediately!