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FSE (Field Sobriety Exercises)

Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) are tests used by law enforcement officials to determine if someone has been drinking and is to impaired to drive. Most field sobriety tests look at balance, coordination, listening, comprehension, and dexterity, which are reduced when someone has a higher blood alcohol content (BAC). However, because these tests are subjective in nature and not scientific, whether a person is arrested for a DUI, whether the state attorney decides to press DUI charges and whether a person's driver's license is revoked at the DMV hearing due to a DUI depends largely on the judgment of the police officer. The likelihood of a DUI conviction is also strongly influenced by the police officer's testimony, as well as the contents of the police report which includes results from any FSEs.

Field Sobriety Tests are designed to see if you "appear" drunk and cannot really determine whether you are in fact drunk or not. Unfortunately, the truth is that most people who get pulled over for a DUI, sober or otherwise, "fail" Field Sobriety Tests. Whether you pass or fail is based completely on the accusing officer's personal observations and impressions. However, because these DUI tests are completely subjective the police officer does not take into account extraneous circumstances that may contribute to one's success rate including fatigue, stress, illness, injury, weather, etc. as well as physical limitations such as being overweight, elderly, or impairments of your limbs, back, etc. Remember that the officer asked you to take field sobriety tests because he or she suspects that you may be driving under the influence and will likely interpret any mistake you make as a sign that you were drinking and driving.

If you decide to consent to a Field Sobriety Test, the officer will ask you to do one or several of a variety of tests including: Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Standing on One Leg, Walk and Turn, Finger to Nose, or recitation of the alphabet. Remember to always follow instructions and do not start until the officer specifically tells you to.

You do have the legal right to refuse to take a Field Sobriety Test if you are being investigated for a DUI because performing the test will rarely, if ever, help. Your best option when refusing to take a Field Sobriety Test is to tell the officer that you'd like to speak to an attorney first. However, no matter what you decide an experienced DUI defense attorney like Casey Bryant will know how to ensure that you are not convicted simply because of the police officer's personal opinion.


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