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FST Testing: A SC DUI Attorney Perspective

SC DUI Attorneys Defending Your SC DUI Charge

SC DUI AttorneysWhether you are pulled over and arrested after leaving Williams Brice, or after a night in the Vista, a common statement often comes up after taking a field sobriety test: “I don’t understand why the officer arrested me—I passed all of his tests!”

Contrary to popular belief, the ability to walk in a straight line or stand on one foot without stumbling or falling over just won’t cut it when it comes to the standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs) that law enforcement officers administer to drivers who are pulled over under suspicion of DUI.

Law enforcement officers use three standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs) to detect impaired driving:

  1. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test,
  2. the Walk and Turn (WAT) test, and
  3. the One Leg Stand test.

Officers are trained to look for specific “clues” of impairment during the administration of each of these tests. To understand your results, it is helpful to gain an understanding of how each test is administered and what the performance expectations are for each FST test.

  • The HGN Test
  • The WAT Test
  • The OLS Test

As further set forth through each of the links above, it is not necessary for a person under suspicion of DUI to stumble or fall over while performing a field sobriety test. The clues demonstrated during each test are involuntary.

Many individuals who are arrested and charged with DUI  in South Carolina do not understand that just because they followed instructions by not moving their head during a test does not mean that they performed well. Simply failing to keep position or pivoting while turning during the Walk and Turn test can trigger enough clues to cause the arresting officer to believe you are impaired. Putting your foot down or hopping during the One Leg Stand test can trigger the same suspicions.

The bottom line is that law enforcement officers are trained to detect very specific clues during the administration of these tests. These clues are not necessarily what the average citizen would consider evidence of impairment. Officers use these tests, together with their other observations about a person’s driving, appearance and behavior, to determine whether he or she should be arrested for DUI.

If you have been arrested for DUI, you should contact an experienced SC DUI attorney for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights as well as the facts specific to your situation.  803.252.4800




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