For the duration of a drunk driving investigation, police will usually administer a series of so-called "field sobriety tests" (FSTs). This may contain a battery of three to five tests, usually selected by the officer; these may include walk-and-turn, one-leg-stand, horizontal gaze nystagmus, fingers-to-thumb, finger-to-nose, Rhomberg (modified position of attention), alphabet recitation, or hand-pat. In a increasing amount of police agencies in DUI Lawyer Orange County, California and over the nation, a "standardized" battery of three tests is going to be given - walk-and-turn, one-leg-stand and nystagmus - and they must certanly be scored objectively rather than using an officer's subjective opinion.
How valid are these FSTs? Not very, based on DUI Lawyer Orange County CA Taylor, a former prosecutor and the author of the key legal textbook "Drunk Driving Defense, 6th edition". The tests are fundamentally "designed for failure". In 1991, Taylor reports, Doctor Spurgeon Cole of Clemson University conducted a report on the accuracy of field sobriety tests. His staff videotaped 21 individuals performing 6 common field sobriety tests, then showed the tapes to 14 police officers and asked them to decide if the suspects had "had too much to drink to operate a vehicle. " Unknown to the officers, the blood-alcohol concentration of each and every of the 21 subjects was. 00%. The results: 46% of the time the officers gave their opinion that the subject was too inebriated to drive. Quite simply, the FSTs were hardly more accurate at predicting intoxication than flipping a coin. Cole and Nowaczyk, "Field Sobriety Tests: Are They Made for Failure? ", 79 Perceptual and Motor Skills 99 (1994).
What about the new, improved "standardized" DUI tests? Research funded by the National Highway Traffic Administration determined that the three most effective field sobriety tests were walk-and-turn, one-leg stand, and horizontal gaze nystagmus. Yet, even using these supposedly more accurate -- and objectively scored -- tests, the researchers unearthed that 47% of the subjects who would have now been arrested based on test performance actually had blood-alcohol concentrations of less than the legal limit. Put simply, nearly half of all persons "failing" the tests were not legally under the influence of alcohol!
Based on the Orange County DUI Attorneysolicitors in Mr. Taylor's Southern California attorney, the fact that these tests are largely unfamiliar to the majority of people, and that they receive under extremely adverse conditions, make them more challenging for people to perform. As few as two miscues in performance can result in an individual being classified as "impaired" as a result of alcohol consumption when the problem may actually function as consequence of unfamiliarity with the test.