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What are the different field sobriety tests?

On Behalf of | May 22, 2024 | Drunk Driving |

A breathalyzer test may not be the only method a Nebraska law enforcer will use to determine if you are drunk driving or not. There are various kinds of field sobriety tests that a law enforcer may use.

Law enforcement use field sobriety tests to assess balance, coordination and the driver’s ability to focus their attention between tasks. Depending on the results of the test, the officer may move forward with an arrest and pursue charges for drunk driving. The officer may also ask you to take a breath or chemical test to confirm your blood alcohol content. The three most common field sobriety tests include the following.

#1: Walk and turn test

For this test, the officer will generally have you take nine steps along a straight line, putting one foot in front of the other, and then go back nine steps in the opposite direction. They will check if you are able to keep your balance as you turn and if you need to extend your arms to balance. Taking an incorrect number of steps may also be an indication of impairment during this test.

#2: Horizontal gaze nystagmus test

When you have horizontal gaze nystagmus, your eyeball involuntarily “jerks.” When you are impaired, this jerking may be more exaggerated and occurs at lesser angles.

During this test, you will need to follow with your eyes a moving object slowly from side to side. An officer would likely argue that an inability to follow the moving object using only your eyes indicates that you were drunk driving.

#3: One-leg standing test

During this test, you will need to stand on one foot while raising the other foot in the air and counting backward. The law enforcer is watching to see if you put your foot down or sway back and forth. Hopping or using your arms to maintain balance may also be an indication of inebriation.

Proper administration of your field sobriety test is particularly important as it can be used to argue that you were legally impaired while you were driving. These findings are only one step in building a case. Legal counsel experienced in this area of law can review your case and discuss your options.