Thomas Carroll Blauvelt

4 kinds of field sobriety tests you should know

The police have many tools they can use to determine if a driver is drunk. One of the first things the police may do is ask a driver to do a field sobriety test.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has sanctioned three field sobriety tests. But, there are four total tests you should be aware of. Here’s what you should know:

1. Horizontal gaze nystagmus test

The first test you should know is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. This test allows the police to examine a driver’s focus. 

The police will judge this by having the driver follow a single point, such as a pen or finger, with their eyes. The driver’s eyes will naturally flicker as they follow the object, but if the flickering is too much, then the driver could be drunk. 

2. Walk-and-turn test

A walk-and-turn test has a driver walk on a straight line. After about seven to nine paces, the driver will turn around and walk back to where they started.

If the driver stumbled, walked off the line or miscounted their steps, then the officer may suspect the driver of drinking and driving.

3. One-legged stand test

As the name suggests, a driver will have to stand on one leg during a one-legged stand test. The driver will be asked to lift their foot up several inches and hold their position for about half a minute. 

The officer may notice the driver struggling to keep balanced. The driver may even put their foot down before the time is up. If either of these happens, the driver may be inebriated. 

4. Non-standard field sobriety tests

Finally, the police could ask drivers to do other kinds of tests. Tests such as putting a finger to the nose or counting down from twenty are considered non-standard field sobriety tests.

It’s often important to be aware of your legal rights during a traffic stop. If you don’t enforce your legal rights, then you could face a DUI charge that could have been avoided.

FindLaw Network

As Seen In

  • New Jersey Monthly
  • MTV
  • Super Lawyers
  • app | Part of the USA Today Network