Field Sobriety Tests

Most DUI cases involve the use of “field sobriety tests.” Field sobriety tests are a series of roadside exercises that an arresting police officer can use during a DUI stop to build a case against a motorist. While the officer will apply the tests in an effort to prove you were impaired, the same tests may be used to advance your defense and show that you were not impaired.

Valid Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are divided-attention tests. They are set up to divide your attention between listening to instructions and performing an exercise, requiring you to do two tasks at once.

There are only three validated field sobriety tests:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (the eye test)
  • The one-leg stand
  • The nine-step walk-and-turn test

Holding your head back and touching your nose, reciting the alphabet, and any other tests you may be given are not validated, and therefore not solid proof against you.

The Weaknesses of Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety testing is not perfect. There are many factors unrelated to alcohol that may cause you to perform poorly. Lack of sleep, illness, injury, and nerves may cause you to fail these tests. The initial opinion of the police officer that you failed the field sobriety testing doesn’t mean that you will automatically be convicted of DUI.

We Know These Tests

Mike Sherman has completed training and received certification for the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. This is the same certification held by police officers nationwide. This certification empowers Mike to evaluate your performance on these tests, how the police officer administered them, and what those factors mean for your case. Call former Pennsylvania State Police attorney Mike Sherman immediately so he can thoroughly review your case and tell you what defenses are available to you.