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All Press Releases for December 06, 2013 »
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The accuracy--or lack--of field sobriety tests

When a police officer first suspects that a driver may be intoxicated, he or she can request that the driver participate in what are called field sobriety tests.
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    December 06, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Around the nation, motorists face dangers at the hands of other motorists every day. Reckless drivers, distracted drivers, fatigued drivers can act in ways that result in an increased number of accidents. Drunk drivers are another such group.

In California, there were 774 fatalities as a result of accidents caused by drunk drivers in 2011, as noted by the Century Council. Nearly 70 percent of those accidents involved driver with measured blood alcohol contents of at least 0.15 percent.

In the same year, 104,345 people were arrested for drunk driving statewide. The consequences associated with a DUI conviction can be extreme and should not be taken lightly by either a first time offender or a repeat offender. In some situations, a DUI conviction can be avoided but requires proper defense and can happen for various reasons, including inaccuracies in the DUI testing process.

Field sobriety tests lack objectivity

When a police officer first suspects that a driver may be intoxicated, he or she can request that the driver participate in what are called field sobriety tests. Most frequently, there are three standardized testing methods that are used. These are:
- Eye gaze test

In this test, a driver is supposed to follow a small light as the officer moves it.
- One-legged stand

While counting each second out loud, a driver must hold one foot up and balance on the other for roughly 30 seconds.
- Walk-n-turn

Walking in a heel-to-toe manner, a driver is asked to take nine steps, then turn around and walk back along the same line.

While a driver is performing each of the three standardized field sobriety tests, the officer watches his or her behaviors and motions to decide if there is just cause for ordering chemical testing. The determination is by nature very subjective, calling into question the validity of the results.

Chemical tests can be contaminated

While blood tests, for example, offer a more scientific manner of determining whether or not a person is intoxicated, they are not foolproof, either. A blood sample can very easily become contaminated as it is being drawn or even while stored, before the analysis is done. Proper procedure is paramount with this type of testing but may not always happen.

Secure professional help

With the severity of the consequences for a DUI conviction, anyone that is at risk for these penalties should work with a qualified attorney to craft a solid DUI defense. There are many ways that a conviction may be avoided or that penalties can be lessened and working with an experienced professional offers the best chance for these outcomes.

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