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Field Sobriety Tests

After a driver is pulled over for drunk driving, the law enforcement officer will likely ask him/her to submit to one or more field sobriety tests, which are administered to determine whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs through the testing of mental and physical capabilities.

There are three tests which have been analyzed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and labeled Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. These are the Walk and Turn, One Leg Stand and Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus.

  • Walk and Turn: Law enforcement will have the driver walk in a straight line, heel to toe, and then turn and walk the other way. This test is used to gauge a driver’s balance and ability to follow instructions.
  • One Leg Stand: The driver will stand with one leg raised about 6 to 12 inches off the ground, while counting aloud, until the officer tells him/her to stop. This is used to measure the driver’s balance, coordination and ability to follow the officer’s instructions.
  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: This test is administered by having the driver follow a light or object with his or her eyes. If the driver has difficulty following the object or the officer notices a side to side jerking movement in the eyes, this is considered to be a sign of intoxication.

The NHTSA thoroughly analyzed the accuracy of the three standardized field sobriety tests, and they are not entirely accurate in determining whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Factors other than intoxication may affect a driver’s performance on a field sobriety test:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Physical Injury
  • Allergies
  • Illness
  • Shoes
  • Weather
  • Uneven Road/Pavement

An Orlando DUI lawyer at Finebloom & Haenel can help you if you or someone you know was arrested for DUI and failed field sobriety testing. We understand how to build valid defense strategies to challenge test results and prove that another factor may have caused a driver to perform poorly on a test. Let our lawyers review your case and determine exactly what we can do to help you.

Contact Finebloom & Haenel today for a free consultation with a skilled Orlando DUI attorney.

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