Field sobriety: divided-attention tests
If a law enforcement professional wants to evaluate your sobriety on the road, he or she will use both questioning and field sobriety tests to determine your level of intoxication. If you have undergone these testing procedures it will be wise to contact an Orange County DUI lawyer who can fully explain what your tests determined.
Officers of the law must first determine whether or not a person ought to perform a field sobriety test. An officer will closely observe the person for signs of intoxication.
- Inability to state the date and time.
- Inability to explain why he/she was stopped by the officer.
- Odor of alcohol.
- Impaired speech.
This interrogative period will help the officer justify use of further testing, and also determine which test to administer. For example, if the officer learns that the person has a knee injury or another preexisting physical impairment, the officer will choose a field sobriety test that the person is fully capable of performing sober.
During the interrogation, the officer will also challenge the person’s ability to perform two or more tasks at once. Known as “divided-attention” questioning, this theoretically determines if a person is physically and mentally capable of operating a motor vehicle. As your Orange County DUI lawyer will tell you, even slight intoxication can decrease your ability to perform multiple tasks and successfully operate a vehicle.
An officer will utilize three primary questioning techniques to determine if further testing is needed. He or she may ask for two things simultaneously, such as the typical “license and registration.” Or, the officer may pose unusual questions and gauge responses, while distracting the subject or interrupting their speech. Failure of this portion necessitates a field sobriety test.
Field sobriety tests
Testing may be comprised of:
- The one-leg stand test: balancing on one leg while counting out loud.
- The walk-and-turn test: listening to instructions and understanding them while completing a physical challenge.
- The finger count test: touching one’s thumb to one’s fingertips while counting out loud.
- The walk-and-turn test, part II: completing test number 2 while touching heels to toes.
Don’t hesitate to contact a DUI lawyer to enquire about these testing procedures and what it means for your case. Get in touch with Orange County DUI lawyers Coffey & Coffey at (800) 706-7888 to better understand DUI testing and your role as a defendant.