On behalf of Law Offices of Kathleen G. Alvarado posted in criminal law on Thursday, July 5, 2018.

Many people in Riverside, California, are probably already familiar with field sobriety tests just because they watch television, even if they have never been stopped on the suspicion of drunk driving.

Field sobriety tests are a group of exercises that police officers in California will typically give to a person whom they have pulled over and suspect of driving drunk or drugged, usually because the officer smelled alcohol on the person’s breath, observed erratic driving behavior or for some other reason.

The idea behind the tests is that they can demonstrate whether or not a person is coordinated and aware enough to drive safely or, on the other hand, is under the influence of alcohol and drugs, at least enough to manifest as much in his or her body movements.

An officer does not have to give field sobriety tests, and drivers who have been pulled over do not legally have to submit to them. Many people may prefer not to submit to them since some reports have suggested that they are stacked against drivers and tend to lead to results favorable to police and prosecutors. Indeed, some of these tests are difficult for anyone with below average coordination to perform, and passengers can fail other tests for any number of reasons.

The issue of field sobriety tests often comes up in the course of a drunk or drugged driving case in California, and the tests themselves are frequently used as evidence against the defendant. For this and other reasons, a skilled criminal law attorney is often a good resource for answering questions and offering options with respect to field sobriety tests.