Types of Field Sobriety Tests

Posted on January 20, 2017
  • DUI
  • When law enforcement suspects you of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they may administer one of several different types of field sobriety tests. The purpose of these tests is to attempt to establish probable cause for the officer to make an arrest and charge you with driving under the influence. However, these tests are far from perfect and in many cases lead to you being wrongfully arrested. On this blog, we take a look at three common tests and discuss why they may be evidence in your favor for a DUI case.

    One-Leg Stand Test

    One of the most well-known and simple field sobriety tests requires the potentially-intoxicated individual to exit the car and then stand and balance on one leg, usually for about 30 seconds. If this sounds hard to do, even while sober, that’s because for many people it is. Officers will look to see if you appear to have your balance impacted, but this is not a guarantee and leads to numerous wrongful arrests.

    Walk-And-Turn Test

    In this test, the officer asks the individual in question to walk in a straight line, placing one foot directly in front of the other (kind of like you’re on a balance beam). After a few steps, the officer will ask the individual to turn around and walk back the same way

    Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test

    This is perhaps the most commonly-administered test in modern traffic stops. In this test, the officer asks the driver to follow a pen, their finger, or another small object as they move it side-to-side, only without moving their head. Officers look for jerky eye movement, which could be a sign of intoxication. However, jerky eye movement is not a bonafide giveaway of intoxication; it could be caused by sedatives, vision loss, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions.

    One of the biggest flaws with all of these tests is that some people just simply do not have the ability to actually do these things. For example, those over the age of 65 may not have the ability to stand on one leg for 30 seconds, and likewise doing so could cause them to fall over and get seriously injured.

    If you have been arrested and charged with DUI after failing a field sobriety test, do not hesitate to contact a Noblesville DUI attorney as soon as possible. Attorneys Baldwin, Kyle, and Kamish of The Criminal Defense Team are dedicated to protecting the rights and freedoms of individuals who are facing the criminal justice system. With two Board Certified Criminal Law Specialists on our team, you can trust that your case is being handled with legal knowledge and a litigation style that has been tested, tried, and proven through many years of courtroom experience.