Field Sobriety Tests

DWI Lawyer in Fayetteville, NC

When an officer is assessing if you are impaired by alcohol they will likely ask you to submit to a chemical test and to field sobriety tests. A chemical test can be used to evaluate the alcohol in your breath, urine or blood. A field sobriety test will allow an officer to look at other aspects such as:

  • Balance
  • Memory
  • Ability to follow instruction
  • Coordination

There are three tests that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has approved and these include the following:

  • Walk and Turn Test: In this test the officer will ask you to walk along a straight line, heel to toe. Once you have gone nine steps you will pivot on one foot and come back again walking heel to toe. During this test the officer is looking at if you step off the line, if you use arms to balance, if you need to stop, if you begin before the officer is done speaking, if you can't balance and listen to instructions at the same time, if you don't walk heel to toe, if you take more or less than nine steps and if you make an improper turn.
  • One Leg Stand: You will be instructed to stand with one of your feet on the ground and the other lifted six inches. You will count by thousands for about 30 seconds before you are able to put your foot down. The officer will be looking at if you sway, hop, put your foot down early or use your arms to balance.
  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: When an individual is impaired by alcohol it may cause them to have horizontal gaze nystagmus. In order to look for this an officer will use an object and ask you to follow it with your eyes. They will conduct three test in both eyes. They are checking if your eye can follow the object smoothly, if the jerking becomes evident when the eye is brought to maximum deviation and if the jerking begins within 45 degrees of the center.

These tests can be inaccurate and there are other reasons why a suspect may display some of the alleged indicators of impairment. Not passing a field sobriety test does not always mean that a suspect was guilty and our Fayetteville DWI attorney is able to provide defense to those who are charged for driving while impaired.