Field Sobriety Tests

NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

Unless you refused to do the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standardized field sobriety tests / exercises, they’ll in all likelihood be a part of the evidence used against you.  There are three NHTSA standardized field sobriety tests:  One Leg Stand, Walk and Turn, and Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN).

One Leg Stand and Walk & Turn Tests

Typically people can complete the one leg stand and walk and turn tests, but the problems arise when you learn how hard the one leg stand and walk and turn tests are graded.  Basically, if you make two mistakes on either of the tests, then you’ve failed.  If that doesn’t sound difficult, wait until you find out all the mistakes that a person can potentially make.  It’s extremely difficult, even for a sober and physically fit person, to pass the tests.  That’s one reason why people familiar with the NHTSA standardized field sobriety tests, and how hard they’re graded, are unwilling to do them.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test

The HGN test is the eye test that the officer probably had you do as part of the standardized field sobriety tests.  Of the three tests, it’s suppose to be the best indicator of whether a person has a breath alcohol level above the legal limit.  For this field sobriety test, the officer is looking at whether your eyes make a jerking movement at a certain point during the examination, and whether your eyes can smoothly pursue a moving object.  If there are four or more clues or indicators of impairment that appear on the test, then you’ve failed.

For more information on the NHTSA standardized field sobriety tests, and related defenses, look at the DWI Defense section.

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