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DUI Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are a common way for police officers to gauge a driver’s level of intoxication. Field sobriety tests challenge a driver’s mind/body coordination and level of alertness by testing his/her attention, coordination, balance, and physical agility. Alameda County law enforcement officers will usually require a motorist who has been stopped and has the odor of an alcoholic beverage on the breath to complete so-called Field Sobriety Tests (FST's).

The Field Sobriety Tests can be divided into Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST's) and Non-Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (FST's). Standardized Field Sobriety Tests consist of a battery of three separate exercises. The first SFST is Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) which is actually an eye examination.

The second SFST is the Walk and Turn. The third SFST is the One Leg Stand (OLS). These three tests were "validated" by a group of law enforcement biased experts commissioned by the National Highway and Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA) to develop Field Sobriety Tests which had quasi scientific validity. The California Highway Patrol DUI Enforcement Manual directs CHP officers to utilize the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests before using any other test.

Non-Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (FST's) may consist of any test the officer can devise to such as the Finger Count, Rhomberg, Hand Pat, Finger to Nose, or just about any other test the officer can devise.

Although there are a variety of field sobriety tests an officer can choose from, most officers require drivers to perform the following set of tests:

1.Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: An officer will hold a small object in front the driver and instruct the driver to follow the object’s line of motion. At this time the officer will be checking to see if the driver’s eye(s) begin to twitch or tremble. If the driver’s eyes twitch or tremble, it is indicative that he/she has consumed too much alcohol and is therefore too impaired to drive. However, Nystagmus is a medical condition that can affect people regardless of whether or not they have consumed alcohol.

2. Walk and Turn Test: This test requires the driver to walk in a straight line and take nine heel-to-toe steps, turn around, and repeat the same action. If the driver loses balance, cannot follow directions, or does not walk in a straight line, the officer will presume the driver is too drunk to drive.

3. One Leg Test: The driver is required to stand with their heels together, arms at the side. Then the driver must lift one leg six inches off the ground and count out loud. If the driver hops, loses balance, puts his/her foot down, raises his/her arm, or fails to follow directions, then he/she will be considered intoxicated.

Why Should I Hire a DUI Lawyer?

First of all, field sobriety tests are NOT MANDATORY in California. Drivers are not required to perform these tests, and have every legal right to decline an officer’s request. It’s important for every driver in California to know this because if a driver performs any of these tests, the results will be used as evidence against him/her in court. These tests are subjective, inaccurate, designed for failure, and not based on scientific or physiological fact or reasoning. Successful performance or completion of these tests is based entirely upon the opinion of the officer.

For these reasons, it’s important for any person who was arrested for a DUI after performing one or more field sobriety test to contact an experienced DUI lawyer as soon as possible. A skilled Alameda County DUI attorney can review the circumstances of your arrest, and ensure that the officer had legitimate cause to believe you were intoxicated, and therefore arrest you. Your attorney can also help prove if extenuating factors or circumstances were responsible for your performance on the tests, such as poor weather conditions, poor road conditions, the type of footwear you were wearing, or whether or not you were suffering from an illness, injury, physical disability, fatigue, nervousness, or just natural lack of coordination.

Contact Alameda County DUI Attorney Robert Tayac

If you have been arrested on DUI charges in Alameda County, and you performed one or more field sobriety test, it’s imperative that you consult an experienced Alameda County DUI lawyer as soon as possible. As a seasoned DUI attorney, Robert Tayac can provide you with the resources and aggressive representation you need to successfully beat your DUI charges in court.

If you would like to work with an Alameda County DUI lawyer who is committed to protecting your rights and winning your case, then please call the Law Office of Robert Tayac at (510) 352-9500.

Alameda County DUI Attorney

If you have been arrested for DUI in Alameda County, it is important to be represented by a qualified attorney. A qualified Alameda County DUI lawyer will protect your rights, investigate the circumstances of your arrest, advise you of your legal options, and question law enforcement officers and other witnesses if you choose to fight the DUI charges.

Robert Tayac has been helping people charged with DUI in Alameda County for over two decades. He has the specialized training, education and experience to effectively represent you in any drunk driving case.

Robert will also schedule your DMV hearing and represent you at the hearing if you become a client. Remember, a driver arrested for DUI in Alameda County has only ten (10) days from the date of the DUI arrest to request a DMV Hearing to prevent the automatic suspension of their driving privilege. When you hire Robert Tayac, you will know that you have hired a knowledgeable and trustworthy DUI defense lawyer.

Contact the Law Office of Robert Tayac for your free case evaluation!

Why Choose Our Firm?

Attorney Robert Tayac Puts a Long, Decorated Career to Work for You
  • Puts Over 20 Years of Experience Toward Your Case

  • Specialized Education in DUI Defense

  • Has Trained Other Attorneys in San Francisco

  • Former San Francisco Police Officer & Police Inspector

  • Certified by the SFPD on the Intoxilyzer 5000 Testing Device

  • Co-Authored the 4th Edition of California Drunk Driving Defense

  • Boasts a Successful Record Achieving the Best Result for His Clients

  • Takes the Time to Understand You & Your Case

Client Testimonials

  • “His in depth knowledge and expertise within his field, along with deep and lasting relationships with the District Attorneys office and everyone involved are without a doubt unmatched.”


  • “Without Mr Tayac's knowledge and drive to succeed, I most likely would not be able to write this review today.”


  • “These clients have called me to thank me for referring them to the Law Offices of Robert Tayac.”

    R.R., Attorney at Law

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