What are field sobriety tests?
Law enforcement agencies all over the country use field sobriety tests to determine DUI arrests. These tests are not an accurate way to determine if the person tested has an impairment, and they might use the test results against you in court.
It is important to know what the field sobriety tests are so you know if the officers subject you to unnecessary testing.
Horizontal gaze nystagmus test
When officers perform the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, they observe if the suspect can follow a slow-moving object with their eyes. An impaired person will have difficulty smoothly following the object with their eyes.
During this test, the suspect takes nine steps in a straight line. He or she needs to take steps walking from heel to toe. The individual must then turn on one foot and return back to the spot where they started. The officer watches to see if the person can keep their balance, steps off the line, or struggles to turn correctly.
One-leg stand test
The suspect stands with one foot off the ground and counts by ones until he or she is told to put their foot down. The officer times the suspect for 30 seconds. They look for swaying, use of arms, or hoping to determine if the suspect has an impairment.
Someone might be unable to complete one of the tests for a multitude of reasons. Make sure the officers ask you if you have other disabilities that might render you unable to complete the tests.