What Are and How Accurate Are The Drunk Driving Field Sobriety Test
The field sobriety tests were developed in 1970s and have been used by the law enforcement agencies since 1981. There are generally three different test that is administered on a person during a field DUI investigation
- Walk-and-Turn test
- The One-Legged Stand test
- The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
Walk and Turn Test
This test when done as prescribed is 68% accurate in determining the sobriety of a person. The person has to first stand with heel to toe position with arms at the side and wait for the instruction to be given by the officer. Once asked the driver has to walk in this heel to toe position and count nine steps and then turn back and do the same while counting nine steps loudly
The officer is looking for clues for intoxication related to balance during the instruction giving stage, not able to follow instruction, stopping during walking, not able to perform heel to toe touch, not walking in straight line , arms not on the side and being used for balancing oneself, losing balance while turning and not able to count properly.
One-Legged Stand test
In this test driver is asked to raise one leg up to six inches off the ground and keep it straight. Once at this position the toe should be facing out and driver is asked to count until and unless asked to stop by the officer
The officer is looking for signs of intoxication, which may include not proper balance, usage of arms for balance, swaying and not able to raise foot. This test is about 65% accurate in getting the desired result and if driver is not able to perform these tasks then driver fails the test and charged with DUI.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
This test is the most reliable of the three tests and has the accuracy of 77% in determining a driver’s inebriated state. In this test the officer asks the driver to follow a small object with his eyes. The officer is looking for clues such as not able to follow the object smoothly or clues for Nystagmus. Nystagmus is state where involuntary jerking of eye happens when person has to look sideways and is often highly noticeable in an inebriated state.
Important point to note here is that as the result of all these test are very subjective in nature and it really defer from one officer to other so there are loop holes in this system. A experience DUI lawyer will be well versed with the (in) adequacy of these tests, which are not 100% full proof in determining someone’s intoxicative state.
Failing the field sobriety test and being arrested and charged with a Texas DWI is a charge, which carries penalties, fines, suspension of your driving license and even jail term. When a law enforcement officer believes that you are driving while intoxicated he may ask you to go through a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA ) recommended sobriety test assist in proving his or her claim.
If you have failed, the field sobriety test and have been charged with driving under influence of alcohol or any other controlled substance then you will need to seek the advice of an experienced DUI defense lawyer. A skilled drunk driving defense attorney can help you during this precarious situation