Everyone has seen the television shows where people get pulled over after a long night out and the police officer asks them to perform a series of field sobriety tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has created three sobriety tests that officers administer when they suspect a person is driving under the influence or while intoxicated.
A number of reasons can lead to a traffic stop, including not being able to stay in the lanes, speeding, not using turn signals, and even reasons that don’t even indicate that you’re drunk, such as a burned out tail light. If the officer senses at the slightest bit that you may be under the influence of a substance, whether it’s through the stench of your breath or your lack of ability to focus on answering his or her questions, you will be subject to performing the following tests, as well as possibly some miscellaneous tests depending on the office’s discretion.
Arguably the most recognizable test out of them all, this test helps the officer confirm or dismiss his suspicions by monitoring your balance as you attempt to walk a straight line. Signs that indicate the person is under the influence include not being able to keep their balance, making a turn before indicated to do so, using your arms to balance since you are required to keep them at your side, and stepping off the line.
This test is not only to evaluate your balance but it also gives the officer the opportunity to assess your ability to listen, speak and follow instructions. It is also a test in which DWI lawyers can fight because it could’ve been done incorrectly, you may not have had a blood alcohol level above 0.08 and you may have had a hard time balancing for other reasons, such as exhaustion or an injury.
Otherwise known as the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, this exam involves the officer asking the person to follow the direction of an object, as he or she moves it from left to right directly in front of the suspected driver’s face. Without moving their head from side to side, the person must only follow the object with their eyes. The term Nystagmus refers to an involuntary shaking of the eyes. The officer will monitor the eyes’ movements, if they seem to shake and can’t transition smoothly from side to side, then he or she will most likely come to the conclusion that you are intoxicated.
One-Leg Stand Test
Similar to the Walk and Turn Test, this evaluation measures your ability to balance, as well as focus on instructions at the same time. The officer will ask you to lift one leg off the ground and count or recite the alphabet while doing so. For a person that isn’t under the influence, completing this test should not be difficult. The officer will be on the lookout for swaying arms, inability to speak clearly and constantly putting the raised foot down. While the test can be used as a clear indication of intoxication, there are instances where it is inaccurate, and that is where a great DWI lawyer defends your case.
There are other common tests that an officer may administer, including the finger to the nose test, or the finger tap test. While the DWI lawyers at The Wilder Law Firm do not condone driving under the influence, we encourage you to do your best to prevent yourself from standing out. If you don’t drive, you won’t swerve into the other lanes, you won’t forget to put on your turn signal and you’ll be able to get home safely without unexpected stops.
If you have recently been charge with a DWI or DUI offense, please contact us today for answers to any of your questions.