Types of Field Sobriety Tests

January 11, 2017

Whether your designated driver left you after finding their New Year’s Eve kiss, or you couldn’t find an Uber to drive you home after the party, the police won’t be won over by your story if you are stopped on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. In fact, most police officers conduct field sobriety tests if they believe you are intoxicated. Failing these tests could provide probable cause for a DWI arrest. Below is a list of the most common tests Houston law enforcement could use to determine if you are driving drunk.

The Purpose of Field Sobriety Tests

When an officer performs a traffic stop under suspicion a driver is driving drunk, they usually perform a three-part field sobriety test. These tests are designed to allow an officer to observe the driver’s balance, attention level, and physical capabilities. Based on the information gathered in these tests an officer may make an arrest for DWI based on probable cause. In fact, the purpose of field sobriety tests is to establish probable cause for an arrest.

3 Types of Field Sobriety Tests

Based on research performed by the National Highway Safety Administration, the three field tests listed below are considered accurate indicators that a driver has a blood alcohol content l501evel over .01 percent.

1.One-Leg Stand: Police ask drivers to stand with one foot six inches off the ground and count for 30 seconds. If the driver sways, uses their arms to balance, hops or puts their foot down, it could indicate the individual is intoxicated.

2.Walk and Turn: This task requires the driver to take nine steps, heel to toe, turn on one foot and then return the same way. This test is designed to observe the suspect’s ability to complete the task with divided attention.

3.Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: When a driver is intoxicated, the involuntary jerking that occurs when the eye gazes to the side is exaggerated. When police conduct this test, they are looking for three things: ability to follow the moving object smoothly, jerking when the eye is at maximum deviation, jerking when the eye is at 45 degrees from center.

While field sobriety tests are commonly used to determine if a driver is impaired, if they are not conducted properly, or if non-standard tests were used, our Houston DWI attorney can work to get your charges lessened or dropped.

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