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Field Sobriety Tests

Have you ever wondered what the police officer who has just effectuated a DUI related stop is looking for when he administers field sobriety tests? Do you know what tests are standardized and which have absolutely no significance?

Under the federally enacted guidelines, the National Transportation Highway Safety Administration guidelines approves three tests, horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk and turn, and one leg stand test.

Horizontal gaze nystagmus is when an officer takes a pen or a similar object or takes it 12 to 15″ away from your eyes asking you to follow it as he move the object beyond your peripheral vision. What the officer is looking for is the involuntary jerking of the eye.

Walk and Turn test is self explanatory and as the name suggests, officer instructs the motorist to walk heel to toe for a given amount of steps paying close attention to how well the person follows instructions and whether he or she deviates from walking a straight line.

One Raised Leg Test is when a police officer instructs a motorist to raise his or her leg while observing the person’s balance.

A trained police officer will be looking for “Clues” to determine whether or not the motorist is impaired. Six or more clues will indicate a possible impairment. Some of the tests that are not approved by the Federal Government will include finger to nose tests, and reciting the alphabet test.

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