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What are the three standardized field sobriety tests?

On Behalf of | Sep 17, 2020 | Drunk Driving Charges

If you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving in Texas, in addition to a Breathalyzer test, police may ask you to perform a field sobriety test. We have all seen a variety these tests depicted on television and in movies, but there are only three tests that are recognized as standard by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration: the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, walk-and-turn test and one-leg stand test.

The horizontal gaze nystagmus test

Our eyes naturally jerk from side to side when we look over to one side or the other. If a person is under the influence of alcohol, this natural jerking is amplified. In this test, police will have the driver follow a moving object like their finger or a light to see if the driver’s gaze is smooth and whether there is distinct jerking.

The walk-and-turn test

In this test, the driver will take nine steps in one direction heel-to-toe, turn on one foot and then go back in the same manner. Most people are easily able to do this, but if you are under the influence of alcohol you may find this test difficult, as it requires you to divide your attention between two tasks.

The one-leg stand test

In this test, the driver will stand with one foot in the air for 30 seconds. Like the walk-and-turn test, if you are sober this is generally easy to accomplish. However, if you are impaired by alcohol, you may find it difficult to keep your balance. Police will observe to see if you sway, wave your arms, hop or put your foot down to determine if you are under the influence of alcohol.

A failed field sobriety test can lead to a DUI

Ultimately a failed field sobriety test can lead to a DUI. You may want to challenge the results of a test that led to charges of drunk driving. However, doing so is not simple and with the stakes being so high it is not something most people want to handle on their own. An attorney can be a useful resource to those who are facing a DUI and have questions about their defense.