Three Common Field Sobriety Tests

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense that places everyone on the road in jeopardy. Each year over 3,000 people lose their lives as a result of motor vehicle accidents that involved a person driving under the influence. The danger caused by people driving drunk leads to law enforcement officers actively seeking out any person they believe is driving while under the influence. When a police officer has pulled over an individual they believe is intoxicated, it is normal for them to request a sobriety test that will help identify a person who may be impaired due to alcohol consumption. Knowledge of these three common sobriety tests may help you if you or someone close to you is ever accused of driving while intoxicated.

Romberg Test

Named for famed German neurologist Moritz Romberg, this sobriety test is designed to evaluate the neurological functions of a person who is suspected of driving while intoxicated. The test requires that the suspected driver exit the vehicle and stand with his or her feet together and head held back looking at the sky. The driver’s arms are held out to the sides and they are then asked to close their eyes and wait for 30 seconds to pass. An inability to maintain balance, tremoring eyelids, and failure to estimate the passage of time are all used to indicate neurological impairment caused by an intoxicant.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

An extremely popular test, horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) refers to the involuntary movement of the eyeballs that occurs in an exaggerated fashion when a person is intoxicated.  During this test the driver is asked to follow a moving object with their eyes. The object, usually a flashlight or small pen, is moved slowly in front of the driver’s eyes and signs that are watched for include an inability to follow the object smoothly or eye jerking once the object reaches a certain angle. This test is believed to be an accurate indicator of intoxication approximately 77% of the time and is often one of the first employed after a driver is stopped by a police officer.

Walk and Turn Test

A driver may be asked to exit the vehicle and walk nine steps along a straight line. The driver is required to walk heel to toe and turn on one foot before walking the nine steps needed to return to their original position. During this sobriety test police officers watch to see if the driver is able to follow instructions, maintain balance, and count the correct number of steps. Failing to follow two or more instructions or exhibiting multiple difficulties is used as an indicator of driver impairment by the police.

Get Help

If a police officer uses these sobriety tests prior to detaining you, then contacting a dui lawyer is your best option. A qualified attorney can work on your behalf to get your charges reduced or dismissed depending on your circumstances. Contact the offices of Yeargan & Kert today to schedule an initial consultation so that we can begin discussing your case.