Standardized Field Sobriety Tests
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has standardized three field sobriety tests. This means that the tests are administered uniformly and are evaluated in a consistent way. The three tests are:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus
- Walk and turn
- One-leg stand
In the Walk-and-Turn test, the suspect is instructed to take nine steps, heel-to-toe, along a straight line. After taking the steps, the suspect must turn on one foot and return in the same way. If you’ve been charged with DUI after taking the Walk and Turn test, a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer can advise you of your legal rights.
Evaluating the Test
The Walk and Turn test has eight signs of impairment. This means that if the suspect performs two signs, his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is presumed to be above 0.10%.
The following two signs may occur while the suspect is standing heel-to-toe and listening to the instructions:
- Unable to keep balance.
- Begins before is told to do so.
The following six signs of impairment may occur while the suspect is walking:
- Pausing for several seconds while walking
- Unable to place heel to toe
- Raising arms while walking to keep balance
- Taking foot completely off the line
- Taking too many or too few steps.
- Turning incorrectly
Attacking the Test
Officers are trained to perform the test on a straight line and on a firm, dry, straight surface. If the test was not administered correctly, your New Jersey criminal law lawyer can attack the validity of the test. A New Jersey criminal law lawyer can also attack the test results if the suspect was over the age of 65, had back, leg or middle ear problems, or was wearing high heels. These factors may affect the validity of the test results.
If you’ve been arrested for DUI, contact New Jersey criminal defense lawyer Dan T. Matrafajlo. He has the experience you need to deal with the police, the prosecutors, and the courts to get the best possible result for your case. Contact us today at for a free consultation.