Field Sobriety Tests and DWI

Standardized field sobriety tests are reviewed by Mike Fradin.

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Understanding FSTs

Review the different types of Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs).

There are several different types of Field Sobriety Tests a law enforcement officer will use to prove probable cause. There are only three, however, which are approved by NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). They’ve developed three tests they claim have some kind of scientific reliability. These tests are:

There are other tests, optional tests, police officers can use to establish probable cause – none of which have been approved by NHTSA. For NHTSA tests, officers need to be trained on these in order to have a certification to conduct them. The big thing about NHTSA tests is that they have to be performed correctly in order to have scientific reliability.

Since you’ve been trained on these tests, you can talk first hand to clients about how these tests can be performed incorrectly. What effect can that have?

It has a lot of effect. Police officers will be trained in 1 of 2 areas. Either through BLE training (Basic Law Enforcement) training or a 24 hour NHTSA course to get that certification. I was trained the same 24hour course. NHTS claims there is some sort of scientific reliability there, but in order for that reliability to exist, they need to be performed correctly. The training ensures that we analyze that for clients.

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