Field Sobriety Tests

In addition to these driving cues, NHTSA identifies several “post stop cues” that officers are trained to look for after initiating a traffic stop. The Lees Summit DUI defense lawyers at Carter & Putnam know what to look for to make sure law enforcement followed the guidelines necessary to be entitled to admit the field sobriety tests into evidence against you.

1. HORIZONTAL GAZE NYSTAGMUS This refers to the involuntary jerking occurring as the eyes gaze toward the side should the person has been drinking. In addition to being involuntary the person experiencing the nystagmus is unaware of the jerking. This is considered the most reliable of all the field sobriety tests when performed correctly. However, this is also the test most likely to be given incorrectly which will completely invalidate the findings. A trained Kansas City DUI criminal defense lawyer can make sure the horizontal gaze nystagmus was given in a manner that it will be allowed into evidence.

2. WALK AND TURN This is administered and interpreted in a standardized manner. The officer administering the Walk-and-Turn test are looking for eight clues:

a. Can’t balance during instructions;

b. Starts too soon;

c. Stops while walking;

d. Doesn’t touch heel-to-toe

e. Steps off line;

f. Uses arms to balance;

g. Loses balance on turn or turns incorrectly; and,

h. Takes the wrong number of steps.

Failing any two or more of the clues, or an inability to complete the test, shows a likelihood of being impaired. An experienced Independence DUI defense attorney will make sure the test and results were properly recorded. If not, our criminal lawyers will fight to keep these results out of evidence.

3. ONE LEG STAND This is a divided attention test consisting of two stages:

a. Instructions Stage, during this stage the subject must stand with feet together, keep arms at sides, and listen to the instructions. This divides the subject’s attention between a balancing task and an information processing task.

b. Balance and Counting Stage, during this stage the subject must raise one leg, either leg, with the foot approximately six inches off the ground, keeping raised foot parallel to the ground. While looking at the elevated foot, they must then count out loud in the following manner, “one thousand and one”, “one thousand and two”, “one thousand and three” until told to stop.

The timing by the officer is an important part of the test, because research has shown that while many subjects are able to stand for 25 seconds, very few impaired people can maintain for 30 seconds. An experienced Lees Summit DUI defense attorney can make sure the Walk and Turn and One Leg Stand was both properly given and the results properly recorded.