What is a Field Sobriety Test?

Field sobriety tests are administered on the side of the road when a police officer suspects a person of driving under the influence. These tests were designed to challenge a driver's physical coordination, alertness, and his or her ability to follow instructions. It is believed that if a driver performs poorly or fails a field sobriety test, then he or she is too intoxicated to be operating a vehicle, thus giving the officer justifiable cause to ask the driver to submit to a breath or blood test or even place the driver under arrest for DUI/OWI right then and there.

There are three standardized field sobriety tests that are mainly used by Wayne and Oakland County police officers:

Walk and Turn Test: This type of test is performed by the driver taking nine heel-to-toe steps in a straight line, turning, and repeating the same action in the opposite direction. During the test, the police officer is looking to see if the driver followed instructions and is able to walk in a straight line without wobbling or falling over.

One-Leg Stand Test: During this test, the driver is instructed to stand with his or her feet together, arms at the side. The driver is then supposed to raise one foot six inches off the ground while counting out loud simultaneously. If the driver hops, loses balances, puts his or her foot down, or fails to follow the officer's instructions, it can be taken as a sign of intoxication.

The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test: During this test the officer will hold a pen or small object several inches from the driver's face. The driver is supposed to follow the object's line of motion with his or her eyes. It is believed that the eye twitches at a 45 degree angle when a person has been drinking. However, nystagmus is a real medical condition that can affect a person even when they haven't been drinking.

Experience & Trusted DUI Defense in Oakland & Wayne Counties

If you were arrested for DUI or OWI after submitting to a field sobriety test, you should speak with an experienced Michigan DUI defense lawyer at our office as soon as possible. Field sobriety tests are not 100% accurate, and there are many circumstances that could cause someone to perform poorly on one of these tests, even if they haven't been drinking.

To ensure you have the aggressive and committed DUI defense you need, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Freedman & Freedman today!