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Standardized Fields Sobriety Tests (FSTS)

Field Sobriety tests, or FSTs, are common tools used by law enforcement to acquire probable cause to arrest a person for a DWI offense. Although field sobriety tests can help indicate consumption of alcohol and give rise to a lawful arrest, performing field sobriety tests are a voluntary act and are not required under Minnesota Law.

Furthermore, field sobriety tests can not accurately predict a person's blood alcohol level, so a chemical test of the person's blood, urine, or breath usually follows a DWI arrest to help determine if a driver's BAC is above the legal limit of 0.08.

If you were subjected to performing FSTs and were subsequently arrested for DWI, you need the immediate counsel of a lawyer with experience representing clients accused of a driving while intoxicated offense.

Lawyer for Standardized Field Sobriety Tests in Apple Valley, MN

As a former Dakota County prosecutor, James Blumberg understands the tactics used by prosecutors in DWI cases. Attorney Blumberg has effectively applied this acquired knowledge when representing clients in Eagan, Rosemount, Apple Valley, and other cities throughout Dakota County, Minnesota.

To avoid the potential penalties that could result from a DWI arrest, contact James Blumberg Law at (952) 431-7758 or submit an online contact form to have your case reviewed by a prudent Dakota County criminal defense attorney.


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Standardized Field Sobriety Tests in Dakota County

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, commonly referred to as NHTSA, has standardized three standardized field sobriety tests. These same three standardized field sobriety tests (FSTs) are used by law enforcement throughout the state of Minnesota to help them detect impaired drivers.

According to the NHTSA, when a law enforcement officer properly administers all three standardized field sobriety tests or FSTS, they can detect an impaired driver in most instances. The three main FSTs used by law enforcement throughout Minnesota are the HGN Test, WAT test, and the OLS test.

  • HGN Test (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test)
    • The term HGN is used to describe the involuntary jerking motion displayed by a driver's eyes when he or she may be intoxicated.
    • The HGN Test is administered by requesting the driver to follow a stimulus with their eyes. The officer then notes the angle at which the pupil begins exhibiting "nystagmus" (involuntary jerk or twitch of the eye)
    • An unnatural display of nystagmus is a trait commonly associated with a high blood alcohol concentration.
  • Walk-and-turn Test
    • Also known as the "divided attention" test, the officer requests the driver to walk in a straight line while listening to and performing given instructions.
    • While the driver is performing the test, the officer is observing the person's balance or lack thereof.
    • Data has shown that drivers who are impaired typically have noticeably poorer balance than an unimpaired driver.
  • One-leg stand Test (OLS Test)
    • The officer will ask the person to stand on one leg for a given period of time while maintaining the weight of their entire body.
    • Officers are trained to watch for signs of impairment such as the person swaying, hopping on one leg to maintain balance, or putting their foot down.

After conducting field sobriety tests, chemical testing of the person's blood, breath, or urine will likely be conducted to determine their level of impairment. Although chemical testing is "voluntary" in most instances, refusing to comply with a chemical test could result in an additional criminal charge.


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Methods Used to Challenge SFST in Eagan, MN

The following are a few examples of how the validity of FSTs can be challenged when a person has been arrested for DWI. This includes:

  • Improper Administration of Tests: A person can challenge whether the arresting officer administered the FSTs correctly and whether the methods he or she used were in accordance with the guidelines established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
  • Poor Testing Conditions: A person requested to perform FSTs on an uneven surface, in a badly lit area, or in poor weather conditions could taint the results yielded from an FST.
  • Physical & Mental Disabilities: A person with a mental defect or a physical impediment could greatly skew test results.

Although law enforcement officers believe FSTs are accurate, an experienced Dakota County DWI attorney could challenge the manner in which the standardized field sobriety tests were administered and the validity of their results. Contact James Blumberg Law at (952) 431-7758 to receive your free initial consultation and have your case reviewed by an experienced DWI attorney.


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Minnesota Resources for Standardized Field Sobriety Testing

The Official Website of Dakota County, Minnesota – Visit this website to access web-based resources provided to the public by the county of Dakota, including the official websites of, the County Attorney, the County Sheriff, and Data Practices which provides certain data to the public upon request.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – Visit this website for more information regarding impaired driving, standardized field sobriety tests, and how the NHTSA has helped improve roadway safety through research and influencing public policy.


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Failed Field Sobriety Test Lawyer in Apple Valley, MN

If you performed field sobriety tests and were subsequently arrested, you need the knowledge of an experienced Dakota County criminal defense at your disposal.

Contact James Blumberg Law at (952) 431-7758 to schedule your free initial consultation and have your case reviewed by a trial-proven Minnesota criminal defense attorney.


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James L. Blumberg

Attorney James L. Blumberg

As a former prosecutor in the Dakota County Attorney’s Office, James Blumberg has experience on both sides of the criminal courtroom. He knows how to fight to get charges reduced or dismissed for clients in the Twin Cities area.

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