Standardized vs. Non-Standardized DUI Tests

Standardized vs. Non-Standardized DUI Tests

There are many different types of field sobriety tests utilized by police officers to determine if a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A DUI defense attorney in Orange County can advise you of the different types of tests, as well as relevant defenses to such tests.

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Standardized Tests

There are three tests that have been standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: the one leg stand test, the walk and turn test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.


One Leg Stand Test

The one leg stand test requires a subject to follow oral instructions while balancing on one foot approximately six inches off the ground for thirty seconds. You will have to count by thousands (one thousand-one, one thousand-two, etc.) for thirty seconds as you maintain perfect balance with arms at your side. The police officer will look for indicators of impairment, such as putting your foot down before finishing the test, using your arms for balance, swaying, or hopping to maintain balance. If two or more are present, you could be arrested for DUI.


Walk and Turn

The walk and turn test is a divided attention test, which means you have to divide your attention between listening to and following instructions and the physical task of walking and turning in a straight line. You will be instructed to take nine steps (heel to toe) in a straight line. At the end of the steps, you will have to turn on one foot and complete nine steps in the opposite direction.  The officer will look to see if you:


  • Maintain your balance while listening to instructions:
  • Start walking before the officer has completed the instructions;
  • Stop walking to regain your balance;
  • Actually make contact between heel and toe;
  • Use your arms to maintain balance;
  • Lose your balance when making a turn; and
  • Take an incorrect number of steps.


If two or more indicators are present, there is evidence of impairment.


Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test

During the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, a small object like a pen or flashlight is waved from side to side in front of the driver’s face. The officer will look for signs of nystagmus, which is an involuntary jerking that often occurs when a driver is under the influence of alcohol. If the individual is unable to track the object while it is moving, the officer may then make an arrest. However, this test is not the most reliable way to identify a drunk driver because there are a number of factors other than intoxication that can cause a person to fail the test.


Non-Standardized Tests

There are other tests that are frequently used by police offices to assess sobriety. Whichever is used, you DUI defense attorney in Orange County will develop a strategy to diminish the test’s damage to your case.


An experienced DUI defense attorney in Orange County has the skill and experience to provide you with outstanding DUI representation. Call DUI attorney Mike the Law Office of Mike Coffey Attorney at Lawat (800) 706-7888 today to schedule an initial consultation.