What are Field Sobriety Tests?
Field sobriety tests are commonly used by police officers in order to properly determine drunk driving cases. However, these tests are often subjective and unreliable. The main purpose for law enforcement to implement these tests is to gather evidence against you and prove you demonstrated impairment due to alcohol and/or drugs.
Types of Field Sobriety Tests
There are three standard field sobriety tests which are exercised by law enforcement throughout the country, which are the one-leg stand test, walk-and-turn test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Officers are trained on the proper administration of these tests, including concise and adequate instructions on how you are to perform, as well as demonstrate how each exercise is performed before the individual in question. Unfortunately, police officers typically ignore their training and deviate from protocol.
The one-leg stand test is executed by raising one foot six inches off the ground and count out loud until the officer tells you to stop. While counting, the driver’s hands must stay on his sides and toes. This test may be difficult for the elderly, those with leg or back problems and those performing on uneven surfaces, such as a hill.
In the walk-and-turn test, the driver is instructed to walk in a line, generally taking nine heel-to-toe steps while counting out loud. The driver then must pivot on his front foot and walk back in the same manner. Anyone who has difficulty with coordination or has a leg or back injury may find this test challenging to perform.
In performing the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the driver’s head must remain still while an officer directs him/her to follow a pen or light. The officer looks for clues which determine if someone is impaired due to alcohol. Those with eye problems or issues with maintaining attention may be wrongly accused of being under the influence.
Seek Representation from a Los Angeles DUI Attorney
If you have been arrested for a DUI and “failed” the field sobriety tests, it is imperative to contact our Los Angeles DUI attorney at Hutton & Wilson. Our firm is committed to conducting our thorough investigation into the arresting procedures used by law enforcement involved in your case in order to protect your rights.