For the duration of a drunk driving investigation, police officers will usually administer a series of so-called "field sobriety tests" (FSTs). This could consist of a battery of 3 to 5 tests, usually selected by the officer; these can sometimes 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. Within an increasing number of police agencies in DUI Lawyer Orange County, California and throughout the nation, a "standardized" battery of three tests will undoubtedly be given - walk-and-turn, one-leg-stand and nystagmus - and they must be scored objectively rather than using an officer's subjective opinion.
How valid are these FSTs? Not so, according to DUI Lawyer Orange County CA Taylor, a former prosecutor and the writer of the leading legal textbook "Drunk Driving Defense, 6th edition". The tests are basically "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 whether the suspects had "had a lot to drink to operate a vehicle. " Unknown to the officers, the blood-alcohol concentration of 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 operate a vehicle. In other words, the FSTs were hardly more accurate at predicting intoxication than flipping a coin. Cole and Nowaczyk, "Field Sobriety Tests: Are They Created for Failure? ", 79 Perceptual and Motor Skills 99 (1994).
How 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 discovered that 47% of the subjects who would have been arrested in relation to test performance actually had blood-alcohol concentrations of significantly less than the legal limit. Put simply, almost half of all persons "failing" the tests weren't legally intoxicated by alcohol!
According to the Orange County DUI Attorneysolicitors in Mr. Taylor's Southern California law firm, the fact these tests are largely unfamiliar to most people, and that they get under exceptionally desperate situations, make sure they are more difficult for folks to do. Merely two miscues in performance can result in someone being classified as "impaired" due to alcohol consumption when the problem might actually be the consequence of unfamiliarity with the test.