Field Sobriety Tests in Sonoma County
Santa Rosa DUI Attorney – (707) 418-5352
A police officer may tell you to take a field sobriety test after you have
been pulled over for suspicion of
driving under the influence (DUI) but that does not mean you
must take one. In fact, there are no immediate legal ramifications for refusing
to take an optional field sobriety test but there could be massive consequences if you
do take one. Despite this truth, you are probably never going to be told
it by law enforcement.
If you were arrested for a DUI after taking a field sobriety test that
you otherwise would not have taken had you known your full rights, you should
contact the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C. to connect with our Santa Rosa DUI attorney. With more than a decade’s
worth of experience handling criminal law cases and a focus on
DUI defense, we have proven ourselves to be the reliable, tenacious defenders the
people of Sonoma County need.
Types of Field Sobriety Tests
There are a few standardized field sobriety tests that California highway
patrol officers tend to use to try to determine if a driver is intoxicated.
The three most common field sobriety tests are:
One-leg stand: The driver will be instructed to stand on one leg for an extended period
of time without the assistance of their arms for balance.
Walk-and-turn: The driver is told to walk a straight line without using their arms as
balance, reach the end of it, turn around sharply, and repeat the walk.
Horizontal gaze nystagmus test: The driver must follow the lit end of a penlight with their eyes and with
no movement of their head.
The officer who administers a field sobriety test looks for signs of unsteadiness
and listens for strange comments that could indicate intoxication. Although
each test is somewhat unique, they each share one thing in common: they
should not be taken.
Subjective Evidence is One-Sided
There is no science behind the methods of a field sobriety test. Rather
than working with concrete evidence of sobriety or inebriation, the conclusion
is entirely up to the police officer giving the tests. Evidence that is
purely subjective cannot be fair and balanced. If you agree to take a
field sobriety test, in essence, all you are doing is agreeing to give
the prosecution some free evidence to use against you later. If you refuse
the tests respectfully, you hand them no such advantage.
Chemical Tests Should Be Taken
Before you refuse any test, ask the police officer if it is mandatory.
If they say no, as they should for any field sobriety test, you should
go ahead and refuse. If they say yes, such as in the case of chemical
tests, you should probably take the test. Otherwise, you face immediate,
Chemical tests taken at the station are not optional. A chemical test is a blood,
breath, or urine test that produces blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level results.
If you decline to take such a test, the California DMV can remove your
driving privileges for one year or more, even if you are completely sober. As this
suspension is an administrative penalty, not a criminal punishment, no criminal defense
attorney in the country can help you fight it.
Retain Our Criminal Defense Attorney in Santa Rosa
Whether you took a field sobriety test, a chemical test, or no test at
all, our Santa Rosa DUI lawyer can help defend you from the excessive
penalties often used by the criminal justice system. Our reputation has
been built upon thousands of criminal cases we have handled and has been
backed by a long history of appreciative
Call 707.418.5352 to request your
free consultation and learn what we can do for you.