Your DUI Pro
Weekends & Evening Appointments Available 24 Hours

Free Consultation 701-746-4107

Toll Free 877-387-3524

Drunk driving and the field sobriety test -- when to challenge

It is a familiar image – a North Dakota police officer on the side of the road watching a driver complete a field sobriety test. The results of these tests are often instrumental in the filing of drunk driving charges, but how accurate are they really? Unlike other forms of testing, field sobriety tests are highly subjective and up to individual officer's discretion. 

A field sobriety test is actually comprised of three different physical tests. Drivers believed to be under the influence will be asked to perform a horizontal gaze test, walk a certain distance then turn back, and stand on one leg for a period of time. Officers use these tests to observe the balance, physical control and concentration of drivers. A good idea in theory, but less so in practice. 

Officers routinely deviate from guidelines set forth by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration when administering these tests. Some even ask drivers to perform different, unstandardized tests, such as reciting the alphabet backwards. Attending officers may also be unaware of mental or physical conditions that prevent drivers from performing tasks as requested, and drivers who try to inform them of their injuries may be perceived as attempting to hide their intoxication. 

Field sobriety tests can heavily impact a drunk driving charge, and you can challenge the results. This is especially important if you believe that the arresting officer acted outside of NHTSA standards or ignored your attempts to inform him or her of an existing injury. Successfully challenging a field sobriety test can be complicated though, so most defendants choose to consult with an attorney who is experienced in North Dakota criminal law before moving forward with the matter. 

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Need Answers Now? Contact Us Immediately.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Contact Information

Dusek Law
712 Demers Avenue
East Grand Forks, MN 56721

Toll Free: 877-387-3524
Phone: 701-746-4107
Phone: 218-773-6934
Fax: 218-793-0013
East Grand Forks Law Office Map


Dusek Law Mobile App

Install the mobile application on your smart phone today!

  • National College for DUI Defense | MCMXCV | GENERAL MEMBER
  • Premier DUI - American Association Attorneys
  • NACDL - National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • state Bar Association of North Dakota
  • Minnesota state Bar Association

Method of Payment

VISA , Master Card , Discover Network