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What does a standardized field sobriety test involve?

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2024 | Drunk Driving Defense

Procedures and protocols are vital for law enforcement officers, especially when apprehending drivers on the road who may be driving under the influence (DUI). This violation is often a grave issue, considering how it can become a significant factor in severe and fatal collisions. Authorities are also aware of the risks, so they use diverse methods to determine if someone is too drunk to operate a vehicle.

When an officer pulls over a driver who seems impaired, they can use a series of tests to gauge the possibility of intoxication, usually called a standardized field sobriety test. Drivers are typically aware of how it works, including the following:

  • The horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), which involves the driver following a slow-moving object with their eyes
  • The walk and turn, requiring the driver to walk following a straight line
  • The one-leg stand, which has the driver stand on one of their feet and maintain balance for at least 30 seconds

These tests are easy enough for a sober person to perform perfectly. Although, a drunk driver may exhibit physical symptoms that are uncontrollable because of their intoxication. These tests can also vary on a case-to-case basis, considering some situations may warrant breath tests to confirm the driver’s level of drunkenness.

Additionally, these tests may not be foolproof since they cannot be practical for drivers with disabilities or other physical impairments. If done incorrectly, this approach may also be vulnerable to errors, adversely impacting a DUI’s severity.

Being aware of issues during sobriety tests

If you participated in a sobriety test that went wrong, consider seeking legal counsel immediately. The results of these checks can affect your drunk driving offense and the outcome of your case. Identifying procedural issues might not guarantee favorable results, but it can help protect your rights by keeping the legal process fair.

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