Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry Articles Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

By Virginia Landry   Jan. 7, 2011 4:50p

When a driver is pulled over in a routine traffic stop, and the law enforcement officer suspects the driver to be driving under the influence, he will perform a variety of field sobriety tests that help determine the driver's level of sobriety. In order to ensure that these tests are uniform across the states, The National Highway and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has developed specific guidelines in order to ensure the accuracy of these tests. These tests include:

  • Nystagmus: In this test, the officer asks the suspect to follow an object, such as a pen without moving their head. Any involuntary jerking of the eyeball may indicate intoxication.
  • Walk and Turn: The suspect takes nine heel-to-toe steps along a straight line, turns and takes nine heel-to-toe steps back. The officer is looking to see if the subject loses their balance, is able to follow directions, or if they stop off the line or do anything else that would indicate intoxication.
  • Standing on One Leg: The officer instructs the suspect to stand with their heels together and their arms at the side. They are then told to raise one leg off the ground while counting out loud until they are told to stop. The officer is looking for swaying, hopping, putting one foot down etc.
  • Finger to Nose: The officer tells the suspect to close their eyes and stand with their feet together. He then instructs the suspect to bring their finger to their nose, while keeping their eyes shut. The officer is looking for any loss of balance, muscle tension, body tremors or any statements made by the suspect that support intoxication.
  • Rohmberg Balance Test: The officer tells the suspect to close their eyes and tilt their head back and estimate 30 seconds. The officer is looking for any swaying, opening of the eyes, muscle tension, and any statements made by the accused. When a person is intoxicated under the influence of alcohol, they will usually be slow, whereas under the influence of stimulants, they will be fast.

DUI Defense Attorney in Orange County

If you or someone you love has been arrested for a DUI, an Orange County DUI lawyer at the Law Offices of Virginia Landry can help. We will fight aggressively on your behalf in order to help get the charges against you reduced.

Contact an Orange County DUI Attorney from our firm today for a free consultation.

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