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Types of Field Sobriety Tests

If you have been pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) you might have failed one or multiple field sobriety tests administered to you by law enforcement. These tests, the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, the One-Leg Stand and the Walk-and-Turn, are used to determine whether you may be a drunk driver. Law enforcement officials use these tests as indicators for intoxication and then typically they will administer a breath test after. The results of the tests are based on the observation of law enforcement. Other factors that may affect the test are usually ignored, such as age, physical problems, fear, language problems, inability to understand the directions given or other factors that could greatly influence the test. Field sobriety tests are purely based on observation and are not completely accurate indicators for intoxication.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
What is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test? The word “nystagmus,” according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the bouncing eye movement typically displayed by those who are intoxicated or on drugs. Gaze nystagmus is caused by disruptions within the nervous system usually indicative of alcohol use. Officers are required to administer these tests in well-lit areas and have their subjects facing away from flashing lights that could be coming from traffic and the police cruiser. The officer must also ask if the individual has a medical condition that might affect the results of the test. The subject will then follow the tip of the officer’s pen with their eyes while the pen is 15 inches away from their face and slightly above eye level.

One Leg Stand
As it sounds, the one leg stand sobriety test requires an individual to stand balanced on one leg for a certain amount of time. This test must be performed on a hard, level and dry ground. Certain weather conditions may interfere with the results of this test as well as the type of shoes the subject is wearing. The suspect must keep their foot raised near six inches off of the ground without swaying for about 30 seconds.

Walk and Turn
Like the one leg stand test, the walk and turn is a “divided attention” test. The subject must take nine steps from heel to toe in a straight line. Those who fail to touch heel to toe or has difficulty following instructions may be considered to be impaired, although there are other reasons that could contribute to failing this test.

Hire an attorney to defend you against the evidence!

It is very important that you speak with an attorney if your charge was based off of a field sobriety test because you may be able to fight the charges. The legal team at Knowles Law Firm is experienced in handling all types of DUI cases throughout Phoenix and they will be able to help you. Attorney Anthony Knowles is a former law enforcement officer which means he thoroughly understands how police procedure works at traffic stops.

For an individual to be arrested there are certain vital criteria that must be in place. One of these is called "probable cause." There must be indicators that give law enforcement reason to pull you over, and further, to administer the tests. With a thorough review of your situation, it is possible that there were violations of the correct procedure and this could open the door to court challenges. The court challenges can result in the evidence against you being suppressed and the charges dismissed.

You need someone who is skilled in every aspect of DUI defense. The experienced trial attorneys from this firm have successfully defended countless individuals who have had field sobriety test evidence against them. You need powerful legal representation when fighting your charges, and Knowles Law Firm can deliver. To learn more and to get your case evaluated, contact the firm today.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.