If you get stopped by the police for drunk driving suspicions, you will be asked to step outside to do an FST, or a field sobriety test. Simply put, this is a test out on the field, out on the street or highway in order for the police to gauge your coordination abilities and your eye movement to measure how drunk, if at any level, you are.
An FST is the normally the first test to see if you’re drunk. Normally, there were probably already other signs before even the FST where the police had noticed a suspicion of DUI drunk driving. The police probably noticed swerving in your driving tendencies and habits while on the road; they could’ve noticed your abnormal brake stoppings on and off or you were following too closely to another car by tailgating the car in front of you; they could’ve noticed either speeding or going too slow. Whatever the signs, after the police stopped your car, the police then probably noticed a smell, an ‘odor’ of intoxicating liquor, or a ‘strong odor of alcohol’. All this is direct evidence the police can use well before even the field sobriety tests are taken to inculpate you to request the prosecutor to charge with a criminal charge of a DUI.
An FST is significant, but even without an FST, the odor of alcohol, the swerving out of lanes while driving can still serve as circumstantial evidence of DUI drunk driving.
If you’re asking how important is a field sobriety test as to whether or not you will be found guilty of a DUI, the answer is: very signficant.
In fact, if you press your case to a trial and the police (which is often) performed the FST’s properly, the jury will view this evidence as circumstantial evidence of your DUI charge. On the other side, it is also quite often that the police may perform the FST’s improperly by, for example, having you walk in a straight line where the ‘lights are blaring’ in your eyes, the pavement on the street is uneven, and cars are loudly zooming by thus creating an environment difficult for you to focus on walking a straight line whether or not you were or you were not intoxicated. In such a case, a lawyer can address these shortcomings during negotiations with the prosecutor, during pretrial motions, and during a jury trial.
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THE RO FIRM, P.S.C.