Field Sobriety Tests
An experienced DUI attorney can successfully challenge Field Sobriety Tests. Police use Field Sobriety Tests as a way to gather evidence against a driver to prove that he is driving under the influence. Standardized Field Sobriety Tests recognized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration include the following:
1. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: Nystagmus is used to describe the involuntary jerking motion of the eye. Nystagmus can be caused by alcohol or drug intoxication. More often, nystagmus can be a normal physical trait or can result from a blow to the head, or other injury.
The human eye normally moves smoothly, but an eye with nystagmus moves in a jerky motion. Normally, a person showing signs of nystagmus is unaware that it is happening because it does not affect the person's vision. During this test, the officer is looking to see whether the eye movement is smooth, and the degree at which the nystagmus is visible.
2. One Leg Stand: Police officers will instruct the driver to choose a leg and lift it off the ground six inches while pointing the toe forward. The police officer will then tell the driver to count out loud to 30 (one one thousand, two one thousand, etc.). While the driver is performing this test, the officer is looking to see whether the driver sways, raises her arms, puts a foot down and for other clues.
3. Walk and Turn: One of the most difficult field sobriety tests is the walk and turn. Police officers instruct the driver to stand heel to toe with their hands by their side. The driver must then take 9 steps touching heel to toe at every step while counting out loud. The driver is then made to turn and repeat the process. Every time a driver raises her arms, doesn’t touch heel to toe, steps off the line or other clues, the officer counts it as a clue that the person is intoxicated.
4. Other Tests: Police officers will utilize other tests in determining whether a person is driving under the influence. Some of these tests include the “finger count,” touching finger to nose, and reciting some portion of the ABCs. Although these tests are not standardized, they are often allowed into evidence against the driver.