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Helpful Tips:

Fact #13:
Keep all papers given to you upon release from jail for your DUI or DWI arrest which should be your promise to appear and court date, property receipts, a copy of the print-out of the breath machine, and receipt for you car being towed and stored.

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Never take Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) in California for a DUI or DWI investigation because they are designed for the police officer have probable cause to arrest you. Later, if you go to trial, the officer will tell everyone, the jury and the judge, how terrible you did on the FSTs. The officers are trained to testify in court regarding the FSTs, and one of the questions that the District Attorney always asks the officer is, officer approximately how many investigations for DUI or DWI have you done? The officer will answer; about 1,000. And, officer, do you always give FSTs? Yes. And officer, out of the 1,000 FSTs that you have given to people that you have stopped, how many have you actually arrested? The officer will usually say, about 250.

The purpose of the garbage dialog, is to impress the jury with how fair the officer was in administering the FSTs to you, and that he or she only arrest those who are really bad, such as you. The truth of the matter is the only reason the officer is giving you FSTs is so he can put in his or her report that you failed them and justify your arrest. They are also given to use against you in court if you decide to go to trial. Now, it is your word against the police officers word.

The tests are SUBJECTIVE. What does that mean? Well an objective test would be adding two known numbers such as two plus two (2+2). If you do that, everyone better come out with four (4). But, Subjective means that the test is interpreted by the police officer who is arresting you; now there is fair evaluation. There are two types of FSTs.

First, there are regular FSTs. They consist of the Hand Pat, Finger to Nose, the Finger Count, the Romberg test where you stand still, tilt your head back and estimate 30 seconds with your eyes closed. These tests have no validity, but when the officer tells the jury how bad you did, it sure sounds like they do.

Second, there are a set of tests, known as the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, SFSTs, which have been validated to be accurate if administered correctly. And, there are only three (3) out of all the tests. They are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus or HGN, Walk and Turn, formerly the Heel to Toe, the One Leg Stand. Keep in mind that the officer who gives these tests to you must explain, demonstrate, administer, and evaluate these tests correctly or they have no validity in reality, but in front of the jury, they sound like they do. Again, the officer is subjective in his or her interpretations of how you did, and it will be your word against the officers.


Another problem with pinning the officers down on how these tests are to be administered, is that they generally all go to different police academies and have different course materials that they no longer have, so they cannot remember anything that they did wrong. The academies usually no longer the material for that class, and showing that the officer did the test incorrectly becomes very difficult. So, once again, be polite, but refuse to do any FSTs of any kind, and that includes field breath testing unless the officer tells you that this is the chemical test and no further testing will be required because that is not an FST. Never, never, never refuse the chemical test, just refuse all FSTs during your DUI or DWI investigation by the officer, and never tell the officer when you started drinking, what time you stopped, how much you had to drink, or how many drinks you had. Additionally, never tell the police where you are coming from, when you slept last, how long you slept, when you ate last or what you had to eat.

Now many people say, yes, but if I dont I will go to jail. Here is a reality check. Ninety nine percent (99%) of the time, you are going anyway, so why give the officer and District Attorney any ammunition to use against you. Take a look at the three (3) SFSTs that follow.