Best Tip for Standardized Field Sobriety Test

Before I give you the best tip you may ever get about the standardized field sobriety test, please allow me to clarify what they are (that's what you call a tease).

In a DUI case, one of the most important pieces of evidence against you is the visual proof that you were under the influence to the extent your normal faculties were impaired at the time of the incident. This is done partly through the use of roadside exercises (standardized field sobriety test) which are commonly videotaped (in some counties) for courtroom presentation and ultimately shown to the jury as proof of your "condition" at the (or close to the) time of the alleged DUI.

These standardized field sobriety tests are given either at the site of the DUI (or somewhere close to where you were stopped) or at the BAT (Breath Alcohol Testing) facility in a controlled environment. In some cases, you may be asked to perform them twice, as stated earlier.

The law enforcement officer will administer several of the following tests:

  • HGN: This is commonly known as the "pen test" where the officer asks you to follow a pen as he/she waives it in front of your eyes. They are looking for a Nystagmous or lack of smooth pursuit when your eye(s) move side to side following the pen.
  • Walk and Turn: The law enforcement officer first demonstrates the exercise, then asks you to walk nine steps on an imaginary or real line, make a u-turn, and walk back nine steps to complete the exercise, while walking heel to toe in both directions, with your hands at your side.
  • One Leg Stand: The law enforcement officer will tell you to stand and balance on one leg with the other leg raised approximately six inches off the ground with your hands at your side for thirty seconds.
  • Romberg Alphabet Test: You will be asked to stand in a particular position, by the law enforcement officer to recite the alphabet in a non-singing, nonrhythmic/rhyming way from A to Z.

It helps if you are in shape, and are somewhat athletic because some of these exercises are not easy to perform, independent of whether you have had a drink, or two.

OK, so now that you know what the standardized field sobriety tests are, here's the tip. You are not legally obligated to perform them. If you are asked, you absolutely may refuse to take them. It's up to you if you want to refuse, but you should be aware that they are not legally mandatory.

Have any more questions about these standardized field sobriety tests? Feel free to contact us today!

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