Field Sobriety Tests

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After being pulled over, the officer who arrested you, most likely asked you to submit to field sobriety tests. Assuming you agreed to do them, the officer likely used these tests (which he or she will claim you "failed") as the basis for your arrest.

You were most likely placed under arrest after the Field Sobriety Tests and taken to the police station.

The procedures for properly administering Field Sobriety Tests are governed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Admin. (NHTSA) DWI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Manual.

There is a strict testing protocol that MUST be followed by the officer for the tests to be valid. In fact the NHTSA Instructor Manual states, in bold and capitalized letters that "THE SFSTS ARE NOT AT ALL FLEXIBLE. THEY MUST BE ADMINISTERED EACH TIME, EXACTLY AS OUTLINED IN THE COURSE." Moreover, the NHTSA Student Manual states, in bold and capitalized letters that:

IT IS NECESSARY TO EMPHASIZE ... VALIDATION [OF THE TESTS] APPLIES ONLY WHEN:

  • THE TESTS ARE ADMINISTERED IN THE PRESCRIBED, STANDARDIZED MANNER
  • THE STANDARDIZED CLUES ARE USED TO ASSESS THE SUSPECT'S PERFORMANCE
  • THE STANDARDIZED CRITERIA ARE EMPLOYED TO INTERPRET THAT PERFORMANCE

IF ANY ONE OF THE STANDARIZED FIELD SOBRIETY TEST ELEMENTS IS CHANGED, THE VALIDITY IS COMPROMISED.

In 2002, the Missouri Supreme Court held that improperly administered SFSTs must be disregarded. Brown v. Dir. of Revenue, 85 S.W.3d 1 (Mo. 2002).

See the following pdf file for the proper protocol officers must follow in administering and scoring a FST. It is likely that the officer who conducted your FSTs did not follow these procedures to the letter.

On some occasions, it is clear from the police report (and the officer's narrative) that the SFSTs were not followed and we can point this out to the prosecutor. In any event, Mark Dean is skilled in cross examining officers on the proper administration and scoring of the SFSTs.

Just as importantly, we know how to get the proper procedures into evidence in court, so that, if applicable to the facts of your case, the judge has no choice but to completely throw out the SFSTs. If the officer testifies this was the sole basis for his or her probable cause to arrest you, you will prevail in your criminal case, your Petition for Review, and/or your administrative hearing.

If you need the help of an experienced DWI Attorney in St Louis, contact The Law Offices of Mark Dean for a free phone consultation (followed by a free 15 minute in person office consultation) at 314-675-0000 or 1-800-431-3212.

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THE LAW OFFICES OF MARK DEAN


The Law Offices of Mark Dean is a Personal Injury Law Firm and Workers Compensation Law Firm based in the St. Louis, Missouri area and provides legal services in personal injury and workers compensation. The Law Office of Mark Dean represents and counsels clients in the entire State of Missouri including St. Louis City and the counties of St. Louis, Jefferson, and St. Charles, as well as in surrounding cities that include Wildwood, Ballwin, Kirkwood, Webster Groves, Affton, Arnold, Manchester, Concord, Crestwood, Town and Country, Richmond Heights, Murphy, Sunset Hills, Park Hills, Eureka, Brentwood, Sappington, Shrewsbury, Valley Park, De Soto, Glendale, Rock Hill, High Ridge, Frontenac, Green Park, Byrnes Mill, Marlborough, Winchester, Hillsboro, Oakland, Lakeshire, Allenton, Dittmer, Ellisville, House Springs, Twin Oaks, Wilber Park, and other areas. Managing Attorney Mark Dean also is licensed in the state of Illinois and provides Illinois Personal Injury legal services to clients in the entire State of Illinois, including Edwardsville, Belleville, Collinsville, Madison County, St. Clair County, Springfield, Peoria, Chicago, and Cook County.