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How are field sobriety tests conducted?


If you have been pulled over under the suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, officers may conduct a field sobriety test to prove that you are intoxicated. The standard field sobriety test, as sanctioned by the United States National Highway Safety Administration, consists of three parts – a horizontal gaze nystagmus test, a walk and turn and a one-leg stand.

The horizontal gaze nystagmus test is done by gauging a person’s eyes as they involuntarily jerk while moving from side to side. It is not uncommon for someone under the influence to have exaggerated eye-jerking, which could be a sign of inebriation.

The walk and turn test is done by walking in a straight line, heel to toe, for thirty steps, then turning around and walking back. This may prove to be difficult for someone who is drunk. The officers will look to see whether a suspect is able to follow the directions and walk in a straight line.

Considering that one’s motor-skills are often compromised while drunk, they may also ask you to perform a one-leg stand. This is done by standing on one leg, with the other leg raised six inches above the ground. If a suspect is unable to keep their balance, it may also be a sign that they are under the influence.

If you have been arrested under the suspicion of DUI/DWI, it is important to know your rights and how to fight the charges in court. If you arm yourself with a defense team experienced with drunk driving cases, you likely stand a better chance of winning your case, having the charges dismissed or even reduced. Your future is too important to take lightly.

Source:, “Field Sobriety Tests: Standard and Non-Standardized,” Accessed July 24, 2017