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Concepts and Principles of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) Texas Association of Counties Galveston, Texas November 15, 2007 J. Frank Woodall,

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Presentation on theme: "Concepts and Principles of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) Texas Association of Counties Galveston, Texas November 15, 2007 J. Frank Woodall,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Concepts and Principles of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) Texas Association of Counties Galveston, Texas November 15, 2007 J. Frank Woodall, Director Education and Training Programs Division Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education

2 Learning Objectives Upon successfully completing this session, the participant will be able to: Discuss the development and validity of the research and the standardized elements, clues and interpretation of the three standardized field sobriety tests. Discuss the different types of nystagmus and their effects on the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Discuss how to properly administer the three standardized field sobriety tests.

3 Learning Objectives Upon successfully completing this session, the student will be able to: Discuss the clues of the three standardized field sobriety tests. Describe in a clear and convincing manner and properly record the results of the three standardized field sobriety tests on a standard note taking guide. Discuss the limiting factors of the three standardized field sobriety tests.

4 Overview: Development and Validation NHTSA Research Began in 1975 in California With Three Final Reports Being Published: 1. California: 1977 (lab study only) 2. California: 1981 (lab/field study) 3. Maryland, Washington, DC, Virginia, North Carolina: 1983 (field study only)

5 Original Research Objectives To evaluate currently used physical coordination tests to determine their relationship to intoxication and driving impairment. To develop more sensitive tests that would provide more reliable evidence of impairment. To standardize the tests and observations.

6 Volunteers were Subjected to Six Tests: 1. One-leg stand 2. Finger to nose 3. Finger count 4. Walk and turn 5. Tracing (a paper and pencil exercise) 6. Nystagmus (called alcohol gaze nystagmus in final report)

7 Laboratory Test Data HGN by itself was 77% accurate. Walk and Turn was 68% accurate. One Leg Stand was 65% accurate. It would be possible to combine the results of HGN and Walk and Turn and be 80% accurate. Results

8 Third Phase: Field Validation and Standardization To develop standardized, practical and effective procedures for police officers to use in reaching arrest/no arrest decisions. To test the feasibility of the procedures in operational conditions. To secure data to determine if the tests will discriminate in the field, as well as in the laboratory. Objectives:

9 “Standardized” Elements Standardized Administrative Procedures Standardized Clues Standardized Criteria

10 Importance of Large Scale Field Validation Study First significant assessment of the workability of the standardized tests under actual enforcement conditions. First time completely objective clues and scoring criteria had been defined for the tests. Results of the study validated the SFSTs.

11 SFST Field Validation Studies Colorado 1995 Florida 1997 San Diego, California 1998

12 Colorado Field Validation Study of SFST First full field validation study using SFST experienced law enforcement personnel. 93% correct arrest decision based on three-test battery (HGN, WAT, OLS).

13 Florida Field Validation Study of SFST 95% correct arrest decision based on three-test battery (HGN, WAT, OLS). Validated SFST’s at 0.08 BAC and above.

14 San Diego Field Validation Study of SFST 91% correct arrest decision for 0.08 BAC and above using three-test battery (HGN, WAT, OLS). HGN is still most reliable of three-test battery and supports arrest decisions at 0.08 BAC.

15 Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Involuntary jerking of the eyes occurring as the eyes gaze to the side.

16 Categories of Nystagmus Vestibular - Rotational - Post-rotational - Caloric - Positional alcohol nystagmus Neural - Optokinetic - Physiological - Gaze Horizontal Vertical Resting Pathological disorders and diseases

17 Administrative Procedures 1.Eyeglasses 2.Verbal instructions 3. Position object (12-15 inches) (30-38 cm) 4. Pupil size and resting nystagmus 5. Equal tracking

18 Administrative Procedures 6.Check for lack of smooth pursuit 7.Check for distinct and sustained nystagmus at maximum deviation 8.Check for onset of nystagmus prior to 45 degrees 9.Total the clues 10. Check for Vertical Gaze Nystagmus Check each eye independently beginning with the suspect’s left and compare.

19 Three Clues of Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Lack of smooth pursuit. Distinct and sustained nystagmus at maximum deviation. Onset of nystagmus prior to 45 degrees.

20 Clue Number 1 Lack of smooth pursuit

21 Clue Number 2 Distinct and sustained nystagmus at maximum deviation

22 Clue Number 3 Onset of nystagmus prior to 45 degrees 45 o

23 o

24 Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test Criterion 4 or more clues indicates BAC above 0.10 (77% accurate) 4

25 Vertical Gaze Nystagmus

26 Walk and Turn (Divided Attention Test - Mental Task and Physical Task) Instructions Stage Walking Stage

27 Safety Precautions Keep suspect on left side during demonstrations Never turn back on suspect Be aware of surroundings Left handed officers should demonstrate test at a distance more than arm’s length

28 Administrative Procedures 1. Verbal Instructions: - Assume heel-toe stance - Arms down at sides - Don’t start until told 2. 9 heel-to-toe Steps, Turn, 9 heel-to-toe Steps 3. Turn Procedures: - Turn around on line - Several small steps 4. While Walking: - Keep watching feet - Arms down at sides - Count steps out loud - Don’t stop during walk

29 Walk and Turn Test Clues 1. Can’t balance during instructions 2. Starts too soon 3. Stops while walking 4. Doesn’t touch heel-to-toe

30 Walk and Turn Test Clues 5. Steps off line 6. Uses arms to balance 7. Improper turn (or loses balance on turn) 8. Wrong number of steps Note: If suspect can't do the test, record observed clues and document the reason for not completing the test.

31 Walk and Turn Test Criterion 2 or more clues indicates BAC above 0.10 (68% accurate) 2

32 One-Leg Stand (Divided Attention Test - Mental Task and Physical Task) Instructions Stage Balance and Counting Stage

33 Administrative Procedures Instructions Stage: - Stand straight, feet together - Keep arms at sides - Maintain position until told otherwise

34 Administrative Procedures Note: It’s important for the officer to time the 30 second count for the test. Balance and Counting Stage: -Raise one leg, either leg -Keep raised foot approximately six inches (15 cm) off ground, foot parallel to the ground -Keep both legs straight -Keep eyes on elevated foot -Count out loud in the following manner: “One thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand and three and so on”, until told to stop

35 One-Leg Stand Test Clues Sways while balancing Uses arms to balance Hops Puts foot down Note: If suspect can't do the test, record observed clues and document the reason for not completing the test.

36 One-Leg Stand Test Criterion 2 or more clues indicates BAC above 0.10 (65% accurate) 2

37 Medical Assessment Equal Tracking Equal Pupil Other: YesNo

38 Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Lack of smooth pursuit Distinct and sustained nystagmus at maximum deviation Onset of nystagmus prior to 45 degrees Left Right

39 Walk and Turn Instructions Stage Cannot Keep Balance Walking Stage * For scoring purposes, “Wrong number of steps is a validated clue.” Improper Turn (Describe) Cannot Do Test (Explain) Other: Starts Too Soon Walk and Turn Test Describe Turn Cannot Do Test (Explain) Cannot keep balance Starts too soon Stops walking Misses heel-toe Steps off line Raises arms Actual steps taken 1st Nine 2nd Nine

40 One-Leg Stand One-Leg Stand: Sways while balancing Uses arms to balance Hopping Puts foot down L R

41 SFST procedures are taught under ideal conditions SFST is not always administered under ideal conditions Under less than ideal conditions generally valid and useful predictors of impairment

42 SFST Practitioner Has completed 24 hour NHTSA Practitioners course Demonstrated proficiency in administering SFST Can administer SFST in field environment Can testify to results observed

43 Emerson v. State 880 S.W.2d 759 (1994) Judicial notice of reliability of both theory underlying HGN and its technique Technique must be properly applied Practitioner certification by state sufficient to qualify witness as an expert Expert status may be established through qualifications and experience

44 SFST Practitioner Proficiency (1)successful completion of the current National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) approved SFST Practitioner Course as reported by an approved training provider, (2)currently appointed as a peace officer, (3)two years of experience administering SFST, (4)completion of SFST Practitioner Course, SFST Practitioner Update, DRE Update, SFST instructor, or DRE instructor within past 24 months, (5)demonstrated proficiency in administration of SFST before a certified S.F.S.T. Instructor or NHTSA representative, and (6)submission of completed application, in the format currently prescribed by the commission, and any required fee.

45 Test Your Knowledge Walk-and-Turn is an example of _____ field sobriety test. Divided Attention The Walk-and-Turn requires a real or imaginary line and ____________________ Smooth flat surface with sufficient distance for 9 steps During the _____ stage of the Walk-and-Turn, the suspect is required to count out loud. walking

46 Test Your Knowledge Per the original research, the Walk-and-Turn can determine whether a suspect’s BAC is above or below 0.10, _____ percent of the time. 68% In the Walk-and-Turn test, a suspect who steps off the line during the first 9 steps and once again during the second 9 steps and who raises arms for balance twice during the second 9 steps has produced _____ distinct clue(s). 2

47 Test Your Knowledge The Walk-and-Turn may not be valid when administered to persons who are over _____ years of age. 65 During the _____ stage of the One-Leg Stand the suspect must maintain balance for 30 seconds. Balancing and counting The One-Leg Stand requires that the suspect keep the foot elevated for _____ seconds. 30 seconds

48 Test Your Knowledge Per the original research, the One-Leg Stand can determine whether a suspect’s BAC is above or below 0.10, _____ percent of the time. 65 In the One-Leg Stand test, a suspect who sways has exhibited _____ clue(s). 1 In the One-Leg Stand test, a suspect who raises arms, hops, and puts foot down has exhibited _____ clue(s). 3

49 Test Your Knowledge The maximum number of clues for Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus that can appear in one eye is_____. 3 Per the original research, the HGN test can determine whether a suspect’s BAC is above 0.10, _____ percent of the time. 77 The third clue of HGN is an onset of nystagmus prior to _____ degrees. 45

50 Questions

51 Contact Information J. Frank Woodall, Director Education and Training Programs Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education 6330 U.S. Highway 290 East, Suite 200 Austin, Texas


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