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Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs)

Augusta GA Driving Under the Influence Lawyer

DUI – Drunk Driving

When a driver is pulled over and the officer or officers involved suspect that the person may have been drinking, they will often times administer field sobriety tests to gain more information about the condition of the driver. If there is sufficient evidence after the field testing, they may then decide to request permission to administer a blood alcohol test. These field tests are by no means 100% accurate, and interpretation of the results is somewhat subjective, so this is something that a good Georgia DUI lawyer will examine closely when they are preparing a DUI case.

The standard field sobriety tests that are widely used by law enforcement agencies around the country are recommended by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration). The NHTSA does research and testing on potential methodologies for evaluating sobriety in the field, and at the present time there are three specific tests that are the most widely used. But once again, the accuracy of field sobriety testing and the ability of the officer to interpret the results can often times be brought into question when you retain the services of a savvy GA DUI lawyer.

The first type of field sobriety test that is frequently administered is the “Walk and Turn” test. The driver is asked to stand with his or her feet touching, heel to toe. He or she then must walk in a straight line for a nine steps, and then stop, turn around without lifting and repositioning the feet, and walk back to the starting point. The driver is also required to count the steps aloud. This test gives the officers an opportunity to observe the driver’s ability to keep their balance, and they can also listen for any slurring of speech that may be present.

The other two most common field sobriety tests are the “One-Leg Stand” and the HGN tests. The One-Leg Stand is exactly what it sound like it is; the driver is asked to lift one leg above the ground and balance on just one leg while counting up to 30. The other, the HGN test, involves the driver standing still and following the movement of a pen or some other fixed point with their eyes only as the officer moves it. There is an involuntary motion called nystagmus that occurs when an individual is intoxicated.

This is a brief look at the most commonly administered field sobriety tests. Regardless of the results of any field tests that you may have been asked to take, it is always advisable to retain a Georgia DUI lawyer and allow an experienced advocate to examine these results with your best interests in mind.

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PJ Campanaro Attorney at Law
601 North Belair Square, Suite 16 Evans, GA 30809
(706) 821-2222