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Are police officers in CA required to be certified to perform FST?

Oakland, CA |

I read that officers are certified to perform FST's, i wanted to know by who and how long is the certification good for? Can I attack the officer's creditability for properly conducting FST's in court if this certification is expired?

Attorney Answers 5

  1. No certification in FST's is required.

    Mr. Feasel is a former prosecutor in San Mateo County (CA) with over 10 years of criminal law experience. Nothing stated on this site shall in anyway be construed as legal advice, or as creating any attorney/client relationship. If you would like to hire Mr. Feasel to further investigate your situation, feel free to contact him thru this site.

  2. Most police officers in California are POST-certified. There may be some very small rural jurisdictions where this is not the case, but all of the large urban departments and most of the rest all require it. Only departments requiring POST certification qualify for federal grant funds and those are critical to most jurisdictions.

    My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.

  3. Most police officers are trained on how to administer the field sobriety tests that were promulgated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA produced a series of standardized tests to be employed by law enforcement for the detection and prosecution of impaired drivers. The scientific reliability of the tests as indicia of impairment require that the officers administer the test in strict accordance wirh NHTSA guidelines. Failure to do so can invalidate (through effective and rigorous cross examination) the results. As far as being "certified" there is no requirement other than successully graduating the academy where the NHTSA procedures were taught.

  4. California does not require "certification" of a police officer to perfomr SFST's or FST's. Some states do have such a requirement. Still, an experienced DUI defense attorney who is schooled in the SFST protocol as established by NHTSA will be able to poke holes in the officers reporting of the performance of these so called sobriety tests. Also it is important to note that the CHP DUI enforcement manual is largely a duplicate of the SFST student manual. It is very easy to trap a CHP officer into admitting that s/he failed to follow the CHP requirements.

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