Understanding The Different Types Of Field Sobriety Tests

Chances are, if you are ever pulled over by an officer that suspects you have been drinking, the officer will administer what is commonly referred to as a sobriety test. These tests are designed to help an officer determine if a driver has been drinking and whether the driver should be using a vehicle. Not all drivers who are pulled over will be given a field sobriety test, but these tests are used fairly often on the road. There are basically three different types of field sobriety tests that are approved for use by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration.

One Leg Stand Test

If you are pulled over and an officer suspects you have been drinking, they may ask you to step out of the car for a one leg stand test, or OLS test. During this test, the officer will ask you to stand with arms down to your side directly in front of them. The officer will then instruct you to raise one leg off of the ground and hold it there for about thirty seconds or so. While you are standing on one leg, the officer will be watching to see if you can maintain your balance.

Walk and Turn Test

The walk and turn test, or WAT, can be a bit harder for an inebriated party to accomplish. During this test, the officer will instruct you to walk in a straight line, placing one foot in front of the other, until you reach a certain spot on the roadway. You will then be instructed to turn around and do the exact same thing back in their direction. The officer will be looking for your ability to walk in a straight line, but also how well you can follow instructions that have been given.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test

The most simple, and perhaps one of he most common, tests administered on the roadway by law enforcement is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, or HGN. The officer will use an object, typically a pen or small flashlight, to determine if you can follow it as it moves with your eyes. The object will be placed several inches from your face and the officer will move it in different directions direction you to follow only with your eyes without moving your head. When you are intoxicated, you will have the tendency to either move your head as you watch the object or eye movements will be jerky and not smooth.

In the event you fail a field sobriety test given by an officer of the law, you will most likely be further tested and may even be charged with driving under the influence. These tests are not without flaws, and there have been cases in which drivers were wrongfully accused of drinking and driving. If you feel that you have been treated unfairly during a field sobriety test and have been charged with a DUI because of it, it is imperative that you speak with a DUI lawyer, such as from Knochel Law, right away.