Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

There are three field sobriety tests a police officer can conduct in order to gather evidence for DUI case. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHSTSA) has recognized three standardized field sobriety tests: horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk and turn, and one-leg stand. An experienced and knowledgeable Orange County DUI attorney is skilled at challenging the results of each one of these three field sobriety tests, especially the one-leg stand test.

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In administering the one-leg stand test, the officer will: (1) tell the driver to stand with both feet together and arms down and (2) give the test instructions. The individual will be instructed to raise one leg about six inches with the foot parallel to the ground. While looking at his or her foot, the driver will have to count “one thousand one, one thousand two…” for at least 30 seconds.


While the individual is performing this test, the arresting officer will be looking for four signs of impairment: (1) swaying while balancing; (2) using the arms to balance; (3) hopping on one foot; and (4) putting the foot down three or more times during the test. Two or more of these signs during the test will result in a conclusion that the driver has a blood alcohol content of .10 or greater. This will be sufficient ground for a DUI arrest.


However, simply because you failed the administered sobriety test, it does not mean that you will automatically be convicted of a DUI. Field sobriety tests are open to interpretation, allowing a skilled Orange County DUI attorney to successfully challenge the arresting officer’s evaluation in court. Contact Mike the Law Office of Mike Coffey Attorney at Lawtoday to schedule a free initial consultation.