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Field sobriety tests used to determine sobriety

On Behalf of | Aug 25, 2023 | DUI

It can be incredibly intimidating for a driver to be pulled over by law enforcement for suspected drunk driving. It may be helpful for many drivers to be aware of what they can expect during this interaction as it will allow them to know whether the police followed proper procedure. A critical aspect of most suspected drunk driving traffic stops is the administration of field sobriety tests 

Standard tests used by law enforcement 

Field sobriety tests are standard tests used by law enforcement to determine whether a driver may be intoxicated in a uniform and consistent manner. These tests evaluate a driver’s cognitive abilities, physical reactions and more. They include the following tasks: 

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus – This test requires the driver to remain stationary while following a pen or other object with his or her eyes.  
  • Walk-and-turn test – This test requires the driver to take nine steps in a straight line, stop, turn and go back to his or her starting position. 
  • One-leg stand test – With this test, the driver will be asked to stand on one leg and count backward until the officer says to stop. 

If a driver falls, loses balance or cannot complete the tasks as instructed, he or she may be asked to then submit to a chemical test to determine his or her blood alcohol content.  

After a drunk driving arrest 

If arrested for suspected drunk driving, a driver may face penalties that could include time behind bars, expensive fines and more. It is in the interests of someone facing these charges to work with an experienced defense attorney. This can provide insight into the specific ways he or she can confront these charges and seek a beneficial outcome.  


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