Are Glendale DUI Field Sobriety Tests Inherently Unfair?

Whether you got arrested on the way home from a birthday party at the Glendale Galleria, or you got tagged for driving under the influence in Glendale on a clogged Southern California freeway during the throes of one of the Southland’s notorious Sig Alerts, chances are, your memories of what happened with the police are emotional, possibly blurry, and certainly painful and uncomfortable. glendale-field-sobriety-test.jpg

Most DUI drivers (fortunately) only have to experience field sobriety tests, PAS tests, and difficult police officer questions once or twice in their lives. That is certainly more than enough for most people. However, the “lack of practice” we have in terms of managing the ultra stressful situation of being put through the paces of FSTs and breathalyzer tests or blood tests, intense officer questioning, and the like can redound to negative effect for our ability to cope.

Glendale DUI suspects, often out of sheer naivety, fail to take simple actions that could protect their rights, get charges dismissed, and preserve and protect their reputations, driver’s licenses and good insurance rates.

Why are Glendale field sobriety tests so vexing and so potentially unfair?

Here are just a few speculative reasons:

Easy to confuse “learning related stumbling” with “DUI related stumbling.”

Most of us do not sit at home, practicing how to walk a straight line, counting backwards by 3, or saying the alphabet backwards. In fact, chances are, if you put yourself through field sobriety tests in your own kitchen or office or wherever you are now, you would stutter, stumble, and fumble around a bit because these activities are unfamiliar to you. This is normal human learning behavior –we learn by trial and error. Unfortunately, these normal-learning-related fumbles and stumbles and mumbles can easily be confused for DUI-related coordination problems.

Distractions abound.

Suspects don’t take Glendale field sobriety tests in a vacuum. They are bombarded by stimuli, including police officers (sometimes several) watching your every move, traffic roaring by, lights, sirens, etc. All these distractions make it harder to concentrate.

Emotional/stress reactions to the DUI stop itself.

Even a stone cold sober driver stopped and put through FSTs will undoubtedly experience soaring and crashing emotions, including stress reactions, anxiety, fear, anger, and other states of mind. These emotional reactions can also interfere with your ability to “pass” these tests.

Officer subjectivity.

Field sobriety tests are not like SAT tests, in that one can’t really ever standardize results because of all the variables involved. So, officer subjectivity undoubtedly plays an enormous role in terms of the diagnosis “DUI or not DUI”. Even officers who ostensibly try to play by the book – who seek to be as scientific and objective as possible – are no doubt heavily influenced by their biases, moods, perspective on the tests, and so forth.

All this is to say that if you failed your Glendale FSTs, it might behoove you to seek counsel from a respected, experienced Glendale criminal defense attorney. Connect today with Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group in Glendale (450 North Brand Boulevard, Suite 600, Glendale, California 91203 Phone: (818) 507-9123). Come up with a strategic plan of action, and protect your rights and resources. Attorney Kraut is a veteran former prosecutor with a Harvard Law School education and a terrific reputation among his legal peers (including prosecutors and judges).


If you have been arrested for a DUI in Glendale or you are under investigation for driving under the influence in Southern California, please contact Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Michael Kraut for 24/7 assistance by phone at (323) 464-6453 or toll free at (888) 334-6344 or online.

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