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Field Sobriety Tests in Walnut Creek, California

Walnut Creek, California is located about 16 miles east of the city of Oakland, in the County of Contra Costa. An active downtown neighborhood encompasses hundred-year-old buildings, restaurants, entertainment venues, retail establishments and bars and taverns. Walnut Creek was the 8th city incorporated into Contra Costa County, and is made up of more than 500 acres. In 1970, Heather Farm Park was opened, which is made up of more than 100 acres, filled with an equestrian center, a swim center, a dog park, a skate park, a garden center and much more.

If you are a resident of Walnut Creek, you may be familiar with the Blu42 Sports Bar on Arroyo Way, which is a large sports bar with comfy couches, live music and some of the best beer and mixed drinks in the city. Perhaps you have stopped by Dan’s Irish Sports Bar on Civic Drive, with its outdoor seating, live bands, and rowdy trivia nights. You might just be a fan of Masses Sports Bar and Grill, preferring the flat-screen televisions, indoor bocce ball court, great mixed drinks, and live entertainment.

No matter where your favorite stopping off place in Walnut Creek might be, perhaps you have spent many enjoyable evenings with friends, relaxing with a drink and having some fun. Imagine the shock and fear you’d feel driving home to find yourself in the midst of a DUI checkpoint at the entrance to I-680, or at Parkside Drive and Lawrence Way. Next thing you know, you’re being asked to perform field sobriety tests and are being charged with a DUI.

The Serious Nature of a California DUI Conviction

Make no mistake about it, a California DUI conviction is a very serious matter. At a minimum you could face a $390 fine, between $1,800 and $2,600 in DUI penalty assessments, a 48-hour jail sentence, removal of your driving privileges, mandatory attendance of an alcohol-treatment program, 3 to 5 years’ probation, and skyrocketing insurance premiums—sometimes to the point of being totally unaffordable.

Keep in mind, these are minimum sentences.

Issues Associated with Field Sobriety Tests

If you are asked to perform field sobriety tests after you are stopped, there are several things to consider. First of all, performing field sobriety tests is not mandatory—you can refuse with no penalties attached.

Second, in many cases, even the soberest person cannot pass one or more of the field sobriety tests. As an example, the one-leg stand test is a standard test performed in the field.

During the test you are asked to raise one leg about six inches off the ground, then count one-one thousand, two-one thousand, etc. until the officer says stop. During the test, the officer will look for hopping, swaying, using your arms for balance, or putting your foot down. Should one or more of these occur, you could find yourself being arrested for driving under the influence.

There are a number of things, however, which could cause a person to fail the one-leg test. These include:

  • Being more than 65 years old
  • Being overweight
  • Having middle ear or balance issues
  • Having back or leg problems
  • Wearing heels
  • Being nervous about the test
  • Taking certain medications
  • Suffering from a specific illness

Even under the best of circumstances, when administered on its own, the one-leg stand has about a 65 percent accuracy rate for determining inebriation. If you took this field sobriety test, or any of the others (which have similar accuracy rates) and ended up being charged with DUI, it is important that you contact an experienced Walnut Creek DUI attorney as soon as possible, in order to have those results challenged.

The Law Offices of Nabiel C. Ahmed defend clients throughout the East Bay, including Walnut Creek and Contra Costa County, from our office in Oakland. Contact us at (510) 907-6600 to schedule a free consultation.

We offer consultations over the phone and in jail if you are already detained. Call us now!

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