When your behavior at the wheel or your answers to questions during the early stages of a traffic stop make an officer think that you have had too much to drink, they may ask you to step out of the vehicle. They may then ask you to perform a series of field sobriety tests so that they can determine the realistic likelihood that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
What tests may you need to complete during an impaired driving traffic stop?
There are three standardized tests commonly used
Each of the standardized field sobriety tests helps to measure certain bodily functions affected by alcohol and is used by police officers provide evidence of impairment at the wheel.
The walk-and-turn test requires that a driver walks in a straight line for a certain distance and then turns 180 degrees and walk back toward the officer.
The one-leg-stand test looks at balance. An officer has a driver stand on one leg, possibly while moving their arms or performing a basic verbal test at the same time.
The horizontal gaze nystagmus test looks for involuntary muscle spasms in the eyes. An officer will ask someone to follow their finger with their eyes and will make note if the typical jerking associated with lateral eye movement occurs faster or more obviously than it usually would.
You can fight back when you fail field sobriety tests
Just like you can challenge the accuracy of chemical breath tests after a drunk driving arrest, so, too, can you fight back against allegations based on field sobriety test results. Presenting evidence of physical and mental health conditions that may have compromised your performance on those tests could be a helpful way to undermine the claim that you were driving under the influence.
Reviewing the evidence against you and learning more about how the state builds a criminal case can help you fight back against pending drunk driving charges.