Drivers who are stopped for investigation of driving under the influence (DUI) in Fresno will most likely be asked to submit to a variety of field sobriety tests (FSTs). They may also be asked to submit a sample of breath or blood to determine its blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level in order to evaluate the driver's level of impairment.
If it is determined that the Fresno driver has a BAC of at least 0.08 percent or greater the driver will be arrested on a charge DUI in the state of California. While chemical tests are performed on breath or blood from an individual, FSTs use evaluations that allow the investigating officer to observe the physical and mental capabilities of the DUI suspect. The one-leg stand test is commonly used by law enforcement officers in Fresno and throughout the state of California.
The one-leg stand test in Fresno, Madera, Kings, Merced, and Tulare Counties
In the one-leg stand test, a DUI suspect will be instructed to stand with one of their feet approximately six inches off the ground, toe pointed out, and count aloud by thousands, such as 1,001, 1,002, etc., until they are instructed to put the foot back on the ground. The officer will time a person for a period of 30 seconds.
The investigating officer will making observations looking for four indicators of impairment, including:
- swaying while attempting to balance,
- using their arms to balance,
- hopping in order to maintain balance, and
- putting their foot down.
During the evaluation, if the officer observes the subject exhibiting two or more of these clues, they will interpret that to be failing the test. Research by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA ) has shown that 83 percent of individuals who exhibit two or more of these indicators during performance of the test have a BAC of 0.08 percent or greater.
Can the results of a Fresno field sobriety test ever be incorrect?
The one-leg stand test seems to be straight forward and pretty simple, but there are many variables that can lead to unreliable results. A simple thing like weather conditions can have an impact on the capabilities of the driver. Consider a situation where a driver has been stopped late at night or in the early morning hours and the situation is compounded by bad weather. The driver was asked to complete the one-leg stand test in windy and rainy conditions. The DUI suspect is likely already anxious due to being stopped by law enforcement officers. The performance of a field sobriety test in those conditions can easily cause the suspect to lose their balance during the test.
Another potential variable may be the ground conditions where the test is conducted that is because many times the one-leg stand test may be executed upon ground that is neither paved nor level. These conditions could easily result in the suspect experiencing a difficult time achieving and maintaining their balance in order to properly perform the test.It is possible that inaccurate results can be the result of one or more medical conditions such as an individual suffering from inner ear problems or impairments of the back or leg. Thus, this test could be challenging even without consumption of any alcohol.
Should you contact a DUI attorney?
If you are facing charges related to the offense DUI in the San Joaquin Valley, including Fresno, Tulare, Madera and Kings Counties, do not think that your only choice is to plead guilty. Take a moment to contact Terry A. Wapner and schedule a consultation in order to discuss the facts of your case and be advised of your options.