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Understanding your rights when taking a field sobriety test

On Behalf of | Jun 19, 2023 | Drunk Driving |

During a traffic stop, the police can use multiple tools to determine whether a driver is drunk. Some officers will evaluate a driver with a chemical breath test. The police may also ask drivers to perform a field sobriety test.

What are field sobriety tests? These tests are physical evaluations. There are many kinds of field sobriety tests you should know about. Here’s what you should know:

Horizontal gaze nystagmus test

A horizontal gaze nystagmus test is a kind of focus test. The police will hold out an object, such as a pen, finger or light for the driver to look at. The police will then move the object and the driver must keep their eyes on it without moving their head. The driver’s eyes will naturally flicker when they do this test, but excessive flickering may indicate inebriation.

Walk-and-turn test

The driver may be asked to walk in a straight line. They’ll then turn around and repeat the walk back to where they started. The police will determine if the driver walked in a straight line and followed instructions. If the driver didn’t, then the police may believe that the driver is drunk.

One-legged stand test

Officers may ask the driver to stand on one leg. The driver will then have to hold that position for about thirty seconds. If the driver falls over, puts their foot down or uses their hands to keep balance, then they may fail the test.

Non-standardized field sobriety tests

Any other kind of test that’s not sanctioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is considered non-standard. A non-standard test may involve having a driver touch their toes while counting in multiples of twos. 

Your legal rights

Drivers should be aware of their rights during traffic stops. if you have been charged, be sure to seek some legal guidance.